Magellan the mapmaker

VenusNASA’s Magellan space probe, orbiting the planet Venus, has completed a checkout phase and begins its primary mapping mission, intended to gather data of the Venusian surface as high resolution as one kilometer per pixel. Rather than using visible light – which would yield only images of Venus’ dense clouds – Magellan uses radar to map the planet’s blistering hot surface. Launched in May 1989 via space shuttle, Magellan will continue mapping the surface of Venus through May 1991.