Farewell, Magellan!

Carpe AtmospherumNASA’s Magellan space probe, orbiting Venus since 1990, is retired by entering the atmosphere of the planet whose surface it has mapped. With its power systems exhibiting signs of age and wear, Magellan has been intentionally dropped into an orbit low enough to allow its destruction in Venus’ dense atmosphere. Launched in 1989 via space shuttle, Magellan mapped the planet’s surface with cloud-penetrating radar, covering 98% of the Venusian surface, at least 1/5 of it with stereoscopic imaging allowing for accurate 3-D reconstruction of Venus’ surface features.