Venus

Large-scale hemispheric maps of Venus made from the data acquired by the Magellan spacecraft in its first eight-month long mapping cycle will be released at a news conference at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Processing of the cycle 1 data sets for both imagery and altimetry have been completed, a Magellan spokesman said, and maps will be revealed at the 1 p.m. EST news conference.

Dr. Steve Saunders, project scientist, also will show a three-dimensional perspective video to illustrate the fractured and rifted terrain of Venus.

Dr. John Wood of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, a member of the Magellan science team who has studied rock weathering on Venus, will discuss the volcano Maat Mons which he said may be of very recent origin.

"The Magellan test stereo data appear to be the best radar stereo ever obtained by any program," Saunders said. He will discuss the images and release a new stereo image along with the video and other products.

Additionally, members of the science team will present results of a radio occultation experiment, the first Magellan experiment that looked at the planet's atmosphere using its radio beam.

Saunders said the data look very clean and will provide information about the distribution of sulfuric acid vapor down to about 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) above the surface, much lower than previous spacecraft experiments penetrated.

Dr. Gordon Pettengill of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the principal investigator of the radar experiment, will address completion of the global altimetry and radiometry data sets from the first mapping cycle.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Magellan Project for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications.


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