This view face on

hemispheric of (also the Venus' shown was mapof imby a sur-

cover) by mosaics captured onto

created ping ages

Magellan computer-simulated simulated used to


The color-

enhance features on color by

small-scale -is based

images Soviet in the

acquired spacecraft early 1980s.

Magellan was launehed from NASA 'S Kennedy Atlantis Space Cen_lncoming Trajecto_ Following traveled around 595 launch, Magellan times covered before arrival, motor one-and-a-half our Sun and kilometers Upon rocket

ter aboard the Space Shuttle

on May 4, 1989. On into an


August 10, 1990, the spacecraft elliptical, mapping


reaching Magellan's

Venus. solid

nearly polar orbit around began on September

Venus; radar

fired, Venus"

slowing gravity

the then

spacecraft. captured orbit.

15, 1990. days (one complete and even exceeded of the planet's its


into a mapping

Over the following Venus rotation), primary objective:

243 Earth achieved


to map 70 percent

sur_._ _ _ _,_ _, .

face. After has mapped

three complete some 99percent

243_day cycles, the spacecraft of Venus' surface -- an area combined continental data Magellan all land

three times as large as Earth's masses. The amount

Building spacecraft


was an exercise in efficiency; several existing hardware


of digital imaging



has returned previous

is more than twice the sum of returus from missions. began a fourth

and includes spare parts from a number Magellan's solar panels

of other missions. the all the and a of

United States planetary

use solar energy to generate power required thermal from to operate blankets the extremes

On September 243-day

15, 1992, Magellan

1,200 watts of electrical onboard equipment.

cycle: a global gravity

survey that will help scienof Venus.

Multilayered offer protection

tists to map the internal


special white paint

heat and cold the spacecraft planetary


in outer space and exceptionally require pointing the rest

orbit. Despite such precautions, temperatures dish antenna periodically toward

high spacecraft Magellan's large

the Sun --so 's shade.

of the vehicle can cool off in the antenna Magellan's large antenna --a

spare from

the Voyager back to

mission -- transmits Earth

science and engineering


by radio at a peak rate of 268.8 kilobits per second, rate ever used. The data are received tracking antennas of NASA's Deep on

the highest data Earth

by the large

Space Network
The Magellan inertial craft upper spacecraft stage. The and spacetall,

(DSN) stations Spain,

in Goldstone,

California; The to the

near Madrid,

and near Canberra, the downlinked (JPL)



is 6.4 meters

3.7 meters antenna 3,460

across (high-gain and weighs

DSN in turn transmits Jet Propulsion


diameter) kilograms.


in Pasadena,


In low Earth orbit, the Space Shuttle Atlantis deploys Magellan on its 15-month journey to Venus. Unlike its namesake, the explorer Ferdinand Magellan--who never survived his epic travels -the

Magellan spacecraft easily completed its voyage to Venus. It then began its real mission -- to map the surface of Earth's "sister planet."

The Venus unveiled shaped by geological by Magellan shows a tortured its history volcanism surface -and

violence throughout tectonic deformation,


impact cratering.

At least 85 percent
Alpha Regio was the first fea-

of Venus is covered by volcanic ntostly lava flows vast plains.

rock --

ture identified radar images

in Earth-based of Venus. Its com-

that Jbrm the planet's sur-

plex terrain ridges,

of intersecting and flat-floored formed The

troughs was

Much of the remaining

valleys by

probably processes.


face consists of mountainous appear to have been deformed

areas that repeatrainwinds,

darker filled

patches with

are low areas volcanic in this


lava. The black and other


images data.


edly by geologic activity. fall, oceans and strong

Lacking surface


in radar

Venus seems to experience erosion; surface features of time.

very little endure for

long periods
Artemis 2,100 is the the to Corona, kilometers largest spanning in diameter, on PLATE TECTONICS

such feature of Venus.

surface Venus,

Unique reflect

On Earth, surface, driven

large crustal by currents


drift slowly across below the


coronae interior and cause


deep-seated that face uplift and

processes the sur-

of hot rock moving



crust in a zone of dense material the plates separate from .fills with basaltic magma hot mantle. thicker, Because

called the mantle.


each other,

they leave a rift that up from the

(molten rock) welling

the continents material,

are made mostly of --

lower density

they tend to float

like _ebergs

in water -- at a higher level than the basaltic them. The lower, denser regions

tmtterial surrounding form the floors

of Earth _ oceans. between

Thus we find on Earth and

a bask" difference ocean basins. On Venus,

the height ofcontitwnts

by contrast,

plate movement

is not evident

and surface heights however:

are less extreme.

There are exceptions,

The steep trenches

of Diana and Dali Chasmata,

for instance, highlands trenches

which are located

in the Aphrodite


near Venus' equator, on Earth.

rival the great oceanic trenches measure some

These Vennsian

50 kilometers

across, with raised rims several kilometers by a steep slope that plunges to the bottom. Although neither rainfall, running Venus has water nor

high at one edge,followed more than 7 kilometers

Tessera within terrain, Alpha Regio, is achaotic of mixture ridges, and epressions troughsd suggesting episodes numerous ofdeformation.(Greek Tessera fortile") was named by the "
Soviets seen their in the after such terrain imagery 15 and was in radar Venera 1980s. from 16 missions

the high surface would prob-


ably cause the slopes to relax gradually over millions

of years if not maintained by continuing forces. Magellan tectonic evi-

images have yet to reveal irrefutable geologically to strongly active, suspect

denee that Venus remains llke these cause scientists

but features that it is.

VOLCANIC Lava flows

ACTIVITY --emerging from volcanoes, cracks in the

crust and depressions ous evidence

in the surface -- offer the most obviactivity has occurred on Venus. long,

that volcanic

While many of these flows

are only a few kilometers of kilometers material

larger ones extend for hundreds have resulted from rates of eruption.

and may or very high and filled plains. Some

either very fluid Spreading

lavas have flooded creating images, extensive

low-lying regions on Venus, plains appear indicating not feature identify

bright in radar

but most are dark, areas do that

a smooth surface. the distinctive

Many of these plains

lobate (curved)


the front

of a lava flow; nevertheless, near volcanic landforms

their smoothsuggest

ness and location


they were indeed formed

by volcanic flows.




S /,

On map,

this the

topographi( heights of features are derived data blue t Venus' -of

a portion surface which from -for red areas. the gaps large area)

altimetry from elevations the Gray image in

range low for

highest regions represen


The (goh north and

highland to the Terra Maxwell Venus'

is Ishtar contains Montes, est peak.


Aphrodite highlands along (r ght

Terra's ] I I are the

draped equator




Volcanoes small "shield"

are everywhere volcanoes

on Venus: At least 100,000 like inverted in diameter, shields), have been of these in the


each less than about 15 kilometers detected in Magellan

images. A similar number exist on Earth, Atlantic primarily

small shield volcanoes

and Pacific ocean of the Venuhave summit

basins. Many sian features pits from

which emerging

lava has built up the volcanoes,flow after flow. Most are averUnique to Venus, arachnoids features outare with circular-to-ovoid concentric

of the small volcanoes found in large clusters

aging 100 to 200 kilometers in diameter.
This unusual measures across the tively flat, volcanic feature

rings and fractures. features,

The clusters from the mantle

ward-extending These remarkable are similar precede The range 230 the

may represent

"hot spots" where material

which may

to coronae, latter's forin this from The ex-


66 kilometers has a relasummit

mation. base and concave

arachnoids in diameter kilometers.

of Venus broke through Hundreds for hundreds

the crust to the surface. with flows extending The

image 50 to

35 kilometers Ridges from cano

in diameter. radiating volre-

of larger volcanoes of kilometers

rough and valleys its sides give the a fluted appearance

lines (bright for many been

areas) kilometers by

also appear

on Venus.

tending may




a tick. The

western by areas) black

shapes of medium-sized sorts to familiar


have evoked and "pancakes."


molten face lava

rock seeping

into sur-

fractures. flows

Radar-bright the cen-

rim has been smooth from

breached (dark

lava flows

items -- "ticks"

dominate image.

the summit

pit. The

ter of the

square a gap

in the image in radar data.


"legs" of the tick-like features small riffs or landslides; probably

may represent

lava flows, features beneath

the pancake-shaped


from thick lavas that oozed from

' surface.



suspect that a number Clouds from a volcanic

of volcanoes eruption, of on

on Venus are still active. however,

are not visible to radar, As a result, scientists



observation. the surface ferent

must look for changes images from

of Venus -- by comparing mapping cycles.

the dif-


Even if Magellan Venus, the spacecraft

could see volcanic would not witness



the colorful founon Earth. Such

tains of fire that are typical of eruptious

spectacles are caused release as bythe ofgas molten rock nears surface. Venus, high the On the atmospheric pressure preventsfrom gas escaping; molten
erupt into a spray of bright droplets. rock does not readily On the whole, volcan-

ism on Venus may be a calmer process, producing topographically lower volca-

noes than those on Earth. Venus' volcanism may also be rechannels One

sponsible for the long, sinuous snaking across the planet's (pictured


of these channels extends nearly

on page 22) and is

7,000 kilometers

the longest such feature At a glance, the channels

ever observed. suggest river far too hot

beds, but Venus is currently

for liquid water -- and there is as yet no • evidence previous ferent. that the channels period Instead, date from a
Shaped like inverted shield plates

when the temperature the Venusian channels

might have been difmight have resulted to carve through solid

or shields, are logic bering the

volcanoes geonum-


abundant on Venus,

features hundreds

of thousands Only large Earth number The range in

from outpourings rock. Known

of lava hot enough erosion, on Earth's

or even


as thermal

this process is also beMoon. include giant calderas -of volcanoes. subsurface Cre-

has an equally of small volcanoes from 2 to shield

volcanoes. image

lieved to have occurred Other features depressions

in this

12 kilometers


of voleanism

usuaUy found

at the peaks

ated when molten

rock recedes from

reservoirs span

and causes their roofs to collapse, only a few kilometers in diameter. sometimes

cahleras On Venus,

on Earth calderas

are far more expansive, in diameter. Apparently

over a 100 kilometers

unique to Venus are large, which are hundreds

circular feaof kilometers may

tures called "coronae," across and are encircled result from deep-seated

by rings of ridges. Coronae interior processes

that uplift and

deform the surface.

Pancake-shap domes, on located the eastern edge ofAlpha in Regio Venus' southern hemisphere, prob* ably when formed thick oozed lava out onto planet's the surface. omes The d average 25 kilometers indiameter andeach r amaximum of height 750 eters. m

Venus includes regions, mountain which

several continent-sized by intensely

highland deformed Montes,

are distinguished The southwest on Venus,


face of Maxwell

the highest mountain ters above the average by any standard. A yet unsolved Venus, particularly surface material

reaches almost 11 kilome--impressive

height of the surface



the elevated

areas on The

those rising above 2.5 kilometers. at these elevations images, often appears similar

unusuto the

ally bright in radar reflectivity

a characteristic

of a moist soil cover. Again,

of course, liquid wathat it reunexseveral hundred surface million years, comparable to the average

ter cannot exist on Venus -- so beyond knowing flects radar energy well, this bright material theory


age of Earth's

continents. interaction is evident intense in Magellan atmospheric

plained. comprises

One current small grains

holds that the material mineral such as magnetite into rust)



of metallic

images: Meteorite shock waves that, features around

impact may produce

(iron oxide that has not completely or pyrite


in turn, create dark or bright halo-like some craters. Also, large, arc-shaped fea-

(a form of iron sulfide embedded as "fool's gold").

in or coated on

basaltic rock, also known

tures extend an interaction

to the west of quite a few craters, with global atmospheric atmosphere distributes


winds in which the impact-ejected ma-

IMPACT Magellan craters,

CRATERING rapidly images have revealed randomly more than 900 impact terial downwind distributed over the surface of Venns. planet itself, rotates to the west. (to the west). Venus' atmosphere, like the rotating

Most of these craters

have not been modified by erosion. plays a significant There is a dearth in diameter. role in the of craters Projectiles vaporize WIND STREAKS has revealed many features on Venus related are often

Venus' atmosphere planet's smaller cratering



than about 2 kilometers would produce

to wind on the planet's located craters near topographic


Wind "streaks"

that normally

such small craters through


such as ridges. Impact moved by the wind. that the winds tend and southern to the underin the

or break up during sphere.

their passage

the dense atmowhich occur showering

may have provided

the material indicates

The exceptions

are crater clusters,

The orientation to blow toward hemispheres.

of the streaks

when large projectiles an area with meteoritic Studies

shatter just before impact, fragments. between

the equator from Study of the streaks

the northern contributes

of the relationship of craters

Venus' atmosphere to de-

standing streaks mapping

of Venus'global

wind patterns.

Any changes

and its abundance termine

have helped scientists

that are evident when comparing cycles will help scientists

data from several the rate at

that the planet's


has been in place for

to determine

which the wind moves material

across the surface.

Left: Wind field Ishtar Tessera



a dune

lie in a valley Terra and

between Meshkenet northern dunes range in

Mapping allowed ferent cycles subsequent the use of different to the first 243-day observation period have

in Venus' The

hemisphere. from length meter of the 0.5 to

10 kilometers are about The and

and wide. dunes

0.2 kilo-


and difto

orientation wind part streaks

"look" angles that constantly Magellan's innumerable

increase images.

our ability

in the southern field wind erly indicates flow flow --

of the

a northeasterly shifting to a westpart

interpret mapping

During the first looked at --

in the northern

cycle, the angle from which Magellan surface varied according

of the


the Venusian from

to its position

high above the planet

over the north polar region, This varied the con-

to close to the surface mapping strategy

over the equator. Magellan


to acquire

highest resolution
Shown two part above and at right are radar images of

data possible,

yet with relatively

stant image quality. Looking at the same target from two different angles

Magellan of Venus'


Region. trend-


the north-south features

ing trough

a bright side is

results in "stereo pairs": at once dramatic scientific

a three-dimensional

view that is

side at right and a dark at left; at right, reversed. The

the pattern radar

and at the same time enables the best of geological features. angles make comparisons difficult ways --

was look-

ing from the above the

left in the image the right in


and from


at right.

Still, since varying -- because different the second mapping

areas are imaged in different cycle employed a constant


angle that has markedly improved to compare scientists' ability

images from re-

gious in diverse latitudes.

This 72-kilometer-diameter impact crater is remarkable flows traveled from that ap-

for extensive i,!i!: pear to have

over the crater (bright

300 kilometers walls. areas) to the plains

The rough


lie in striking smooth, (dark


underlying and may melted


represent by impact.





a planet's



the determination

of two measurements rection. Astronomers


rotation long

period measured



pole rotation



period stars. Earth

and And, has

the direction for over

of its North zero

Pole degrees

in relation longitude running

to the on due

a century, on an

been placed through




the observatory

in Greenwich,




the permanent



longitude Venus

coordinates rotates


our planet. direction -that is,

in a retrograde


to the direction

of Earth's


On Venus,


gitnde east;

is measured there



to 360

degrees, The prime


to the or

is no west



The Adivar Turkish Halide bright, ing 500 may

30-kilometer-diameter Crater, educator Adivar, jet-like the west named and features streak for The result of for author a rare, extendover streak the in-


degree crater

longitude, named

passes Ariadne,

through which

the central lies just

peak of


a small


44 degrees


latitude. the 1980s, radar telescopes at Arecibo, increas-


kilometers. be the

Throughout Puerto Rico, and

teraction winds and orite, ejected

among in the upper materials surface on impact

high-speed atmosphere (the material mete-




crater the

ingly radar



radar aboard


of Venus. Venera

In addition, 15 and


the Soviet



16 spacecraft

mapped providing

Venus' data

northern complementary

hemisphere, to those telescope data,



the ground-based Based on these


the International


Union Venus 243.025

(IA U ) determined rotates Earth once days every -and



the direction Venus, the planet, was named for the ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty. Like its mythological namesake, thoughts of the planet initially conjured up romantic images. Also like its namesake, a closer look at the since revealed a corn _lex, mysterious personality. coordinates. 67.17 degrees 272.69 degrees

of Venus'







declination (Right

in J2000 ascension









Space 70-meter antenna Californi ir

Network's diameter Goldstone, began Venus from

receiving radar Magellan data on


16, 1990. Th_ antenna, antenna Spain, Aus-

Goldstone along near with


and Canberra, tralia,

downlinked data and almo at a rate: per hou

Magellan flawlessly phenomenal 268,8 second

kilobits for two

out of every


Named meric for A anthropologis Mar garet Mead Mead, Crater larges is the impact on crater Venus hasdi and a ameter kilo of275 meters.crater The '_
flat ther floor may be ei mateat surface rial that impact lava. or melted


Theour f separate in craters this photograph rims -- with
nearly were large touching probably meteoroid each caused was other when -a shattered Venus' and show-

respectively, seen from

on a map of the sky as Earth. J2000 is the correct system for sky



as it passed dense ered


atmosphere the area with

maps in the year 2000.) Magellan tions toward has made key contributhe refinement of a coor-



dinate system for Venus and has enhanced planet's helped rotation rotation period. our knowledge of the


image data have also for the

the IAU to further

refine the measurements

period of Venus and the direction

of its north pole: and 67.16 de-

243.018 days; 272.76 degrees grees declination.

right ascension



Along with its other tasks, to measure precisely with radar

Magellan field.

is attempting In conjunction data will


and altimetry



help scientists interior.

to develop a more complete

model of Venus'

Most geological are either directly convection a planet,

processes or indirectly

on Venus -- as on Earth driven by a process interior.


called Within

that occurs deep in the planet's the decay of radioactive elements

heats material

and causes it to rise toward

the surface

-- where it then Also, surface by processes a

cools and sinks back into the deep interior. features such as mountain ranges are formed

that originate planet's pened

inside the planet. therefore,

To fuUy understand


in an equatorial Aria Regio,

highSapas across Two apare


we must know what has hapin the planet's interior. Grav-

land called Mons and

is 400 kilometers 2 kilometers mesas, in this high.

and is still happening

flat-topped pear dark


ity data can provide Gravity

this information. to determine the thickness


seen at the volcano's

summit. are over-

data help scientists

The sides of the volcano covered lapping appear instead with numerous which

of the layers -- such as the crust and the mantle -- that

lava flows,

to have erupted of from the



constitute aplanet, tointerpret from varying and clues the densities ofmaterial inaplanet's interior. For
thinner, material less dense layers is rising. itself is subject to Venus'gravity: The may indicate example,

an area where hot

Magellan spacecraft's gravity field.

orbital motion is controlled "Large attract mass"

by the planet's -it to

areas -- such as mountains thereby causing

gravitationally accelerate. lowlands

the spacecraft,


mass" areas -- such as large valleys or pull -- cause the spacesubsurface structures may

with less gravitational In addition, movement.

craft to slow down. affect the spacecraft's

Gravity data have already between Earth, the interior processes gravity data indicate

shown a basic difference of Earth and Venus. For rising and

that convective related

sinking are not always features. On Venus,


to surface geological seem to be

in contrast,

surface features

much more closely linked to interior processes provide a "window" into the planet's interior.

-- and may


radio communication

with Earth gravity

is the only
Bahet (left) and Onatah may time deep

link required for the collection Each time Magellan transmit

of Venusian

data. to

have formed as hot material

at the same rose from

points its antenna engineers



in Venus"


Both coroby rings of while their

nae are surrounded

data, ground

can measure

the varia-

ridges centers

and troughs, contain domes

radial and

features, lava flows.

tions in the spacecraft's The best opportunity when the spacecraft 243-day mapping

orbital speed. to acquire gravity data is


is closest to Venus. For the first three cycles, however, that part of the orbit pointed

was devoted toward

to radar


-- with the antenna

Venus' surface.

The most useful gravity the fourth mapping toward

data have cycle -Earth

since been acquired


when the main antenna throughout each orbit.

can be pointed

Maat Venus Mons, largest volshield cano, insize rivals Mauna the I.oa, largest on volcano Earth. Towering nearly 7kilomete inheight, Maat •Mons law features flows extend that from itsbase for hundreds ofkilom ters crosssu a the rounding Tq plains.
enable tific better scie the relief in this il analysis, topographic of terrain

age has been gerated of 10. by


a factq




DISTRIBUTION the largest planetary to date. new techis


data have presented challenge

image processing

of any NASA mission has developed

To meet this challenge, niqnes for managing the first planetary tral facility

the project planetary

mission data -- Magellan

mission to use a cenand store all its readily avail-

to catalog

mission data in a manner able for scientific analysis the future. With the spacecraft

today and in


data for two hours out of every three for several years, the amount of data

acquired far exceeds

that front all premissions cycle

vious United States planetary combined. In the first mapping acquired

alone, Magellan

4 terabits

(4 million megabits) to fill approximately tapes. Subsequent

of data, enough 35,000 computer cycles have provided

similar amounts the sheer volume

of data.

To illustrate data -cycle

of Magellan

the tape from just one mapping would stretch more than halfway around Earth!

ACKNOWLEDGMENT The Magellan Project is managed Laboraof was built Group, Denver,

for NASA by the Jet Propulsion tory (JPL) Technology. of the California The Magellan

Institute spacecraft

by the Martin Marietta Colorado. Hughes The Magellan Aircraft

Astronautics radar

sensor was built by California.


El Segundo,




Gordon H. Pettengill (Principal Investigator) Massachusetts of Technology Raymond Washington Victor E. Arvidson University Institute

Dan P. McKenzie Bullard Laboratories, United Barry Kingdom E. Parsons of Oxford

University Roger

J. Phillips University

R. Baker of Arizona H. Binsack Institute

Washington R. Keith Sensing R. Stephen and

University Joseph Stretching meters, longest system. segment mately Channels, on Venus" ably carved for Hildr 7,000 Channel kilois the


Canada Centre for Remote

Massachusetts of Technology


channel The

in our solar

600-kilometer is approxiin width. features were prob-

Joseph M. Boyce National Aeronautics Space Administration Donald Cornell Merton B. Campbell University E. Davies

(Project Scientist) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology Gerald Schaber Survey U.S. Geological Gerald University Schubert of Cafifornia,

pictured 2 kilometers common plains, into

RAND Corporation Charles Elachi

the surface lava. The ac-

by hot, flowing companying shows Channel that

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology John E. Guest

Los Angeles Laurence A. Soderblom U.5. Geological Survey

map (below) both ends of Hildr covered material the original been sub-

Sean C. Solomon Carnegie Institution Washington III Manik Houston Talwani Area of



University College, London, England James Brown William W. Head, University M. Kaula

by younger -suggesting may

surface that have

channel stantially

Research Center G. Leonard Tyler Stanford University John A. Wood Astrophysical


University of California, Los Angeles Kurt L. Lambeck National




F7 _--_ '-1

The Australian University Franz

Smithsonian Observatory

W. Leberl

Vexcel Corporation Harold Masursky Survey

U.5. Geological (In Memoriam) \ '_ .... J



GROUP Jean-Pierre Barriot Centre National d'_tudes Spatiales Nicole (France) Borderies

Georges Balmino (Principal Investigator) Centre National d'_tudes Spatiales (France)

William L. Sjogren (Principal Investigator) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of V 13°° Kilometers 20100 Technology

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology




L. Akim

Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (Russia) W. Bruce Banerdt

Henry J. Moore U.5. Geological Survey Duane California Technology David Sandwell of Cafifornia, O. Muhleman Institute of

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology Alexander T. Basilevsky

University San Diego Peter Brown Virgil

Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry (Russia) Richard M. Goldstein

Schultz University L. Sharpton Institute

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology Ronald Arizona Greeley State University

Lunar and Planetary Steven Cornell John W. Squyres University Suppe University L. Turcotte University

Princeton Randolph L. Kirk U.S. Geological Survey Michael Arizona George University C. Malin State University Alexander Donald Cornell

I. Zakharov

E. McGill of Massachusetts

Institute of Radiotechnology and Electronics (Russia)

Western Regio in this sional of the face. below stands

Eistla is showcased three-dimenperspective Venusian sur

At left, the the


horizon, volcano 3 kilo-

Gula Mons, meters At right, another reaches

in height. Sif Mons, volcano, 2 kilome-

ters in height.