PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

Contact: Jim Doyle/JPL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                March 10, 1993


       A final map of the topography of the surface of Venus will be presented before the 24th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, March 15-19 by Magellan Project scientists.

       The map was prepared for the Magellan project, managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, by the Center for Space Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

       The map depicts the shapes of Venusian mountains, canyons and other surface features with higher resolution than has ever been seen before on a global scale.

       Other new global maps based on Magellan data have also been produced showing variations in surface properties such as radar reflectivity, roughness and emissivity -- a measure of how well the surface radiates heat.

       Magellan Project Scientist Dr. Steve Saunders will lead a morning session on March 15 called "The Geology of Venus: A Tribute to Valery Barsukov," dedicated to the late Russian planetary scientist.

       Other sessions on Monday and Tuesday, March 15-16, will cover Venus volcanism, tectonics and recently obtained gravity data from Magellan.

       The Magellan spacecraft continues in operation, with about two months left in its fourth 243-day cycle. The spacecraft has traveled about 258 million kilometers (160 million miles) in its orbits around Venus, in addition to the 1.26 billion kilometers (788 million miles) it traveled from Earth to Venus.

       As of March 15, Magellan will have circled Venus 7,889 times since August 10, 1990; it has collected images of 98 percent of the planet. There also will have been 1,000 orbits of gravity data collection. Magellan's research will be presented in four separate sessions of the four-day conference.

       Magellan is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications.


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3/9/93 JJD
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