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August 10, 2015 - Magellan Gets Down to Business

Magellan Gets Down to Business  After a peaceful fifteen-month voyage from Earth, the Magellan spacecraft arrived at Venus twenty-five years ago this week and lost no time getting down to business. Magellan’s job was to map the perpetually cloud-veiled planet using a synthetic aperture radar that could “see” through the thick carbon dioxide atmosphere down to the surface below. Between September 1990 and October 1994, Magellan managed to map 98% of the surface of Venus with a resolution ten times greater than any earlier mission. In this image, the eight km-high (five mi) volcano Maat Mons is displayed in a three-dimensional perspective. The vertical scale is exaggerated twenty times, and color was added to simulate surface hues recorded by the Soviet Venera 13 and 14 spacecraft.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

August 10-16, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 10

Jupiter 0.4° north of Regulus

1966: Lunar Orbiter I launched
1990: Magellan enters orbit around Venus
2001: STS-105 Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 11

1960: Discoverer 13 capsule becomes first object recovered from orbit
1962
: Vostok 3 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 12

Perseid meteor shower

1877: Asaph Hall discovers Deimos, moon of Mars
1960: Echo 1 satellite launched on first successful Delta rocket
1962: Vostok 4 launched
1977: HEAO-1 launched
1977: Space shuttle Enterprise’s first glide test
2005: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched

Moon phase Thursday 13

Mars 6° north of Moon
Perseid meteor shower

Moon phase Friday 14

New Moon 10:54 AM ET

Moon phase Saturday 15

Venus in inferior conjunction (between Earth and Sun)

Moon phase Sunday 16

Vesta appears stationary
Mercury 2° north of Moon

1963: M2-F1 lifting body makes first glide flight after being towed aloft by a C-47

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.