Magellan mission summary


  • R. S. Saunders,

  • A. J. Spear,

  • P. C. Allin,

  • R. S. Austin,

  • A. L. Berman,

  • R. C. Chandlee,

  • J. Clark,

  • A. V. Decharon,

  • E. M. De Jong,

  • D. G. Griffith,

  • J. M. Gunn,

  • S. Hensley,

  • W. T. K. Johnson,

  • C. E. Kirby,

  • K. S. Leung,

  • D. T. Lyons,

  • G. A. Michaels,

  • J. Miller,

  • R. B. Morris,

  • A. D. Morrison,

  • R. G. Piereson,

  • J. F. Scott,

  • S. J. Shaffer,

  • J. P. Slonski,

  • E. R. Stofan,

  • T. W. Thompson,

  • S. D. Wall


Magellan started mapping the planet Venus on September 15, 1990, and after one cycle (one Venus day or 243 Earth days) had mapped 84% of the planet's surface. This returned an image data volume greater than all past planetary missions combined. Spacecraft problems were experienced in flight. Changes in operational procedures and reprogramming of onboard computers minimized the amount of mapping data lost. Magellan data processing is the largest planetary image-processing challenge to date. Compilation of global maps of tectonic and volcanic features, as well as impact craters and related phenomena and surface processes related to wind, weathering, and mass wasting, has begun. The Magellan project is now in an extended mission phase, with plans for additional cycles out to 1995. The Magellan project will fill in mapping gaps, obtain a global gravity data set between mid-September 1992 and May 1993, acquire images at different view angles, and look for changes on the surface from one cycle to another caused by surface activity such as volcanism, faulting, or wind activity.