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January 23, 2012 - Magellan Turns up the Stereo

Magellan Turns up the Stereo Launched in 1989, the Magellan spacecraft was the first new American planetary exploration mission in over a decade. Magellan entered orbit around Venus in 1990 and began using its radar to pierce the clouds that perpetually shroud our nearest planetary neighbor. By early 1992, Magellan had completed two mapping cycles covering nearly the entire globe. Its third mapping cycle, which began twenty years ago this week, was dedicated in part to collecting data for stereo images of the surface and filling in areas of previously missing data. By mission’s end in 1994, Magellan had mapped ninety-eight percent of Venus, and created thousands of three-dimensional views, like this half of a stereo pair of images of the lowland plains in the Sedna Planitia region.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / USGS

Weekly Calendar

January 23-29, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 23

Chinese New Year

New Moon 2:39 AM ET

Moon phase Tuesday 24

Mars appears stationary

1978: Cosmos 954 satellite reenters atmosphere over Canada
1985: STS-51C Discovery launched
1986: Voyager 2 flies past Uranus
1992: Magellan begins third mapping cycle of Venus

Moon phase Wednesday 25

Neptune 6° south of Moon

1736: Joseph Lagrange born
1962: NASA authorizes Saturn V rocket
1983: IRAS launched
1994: Clementine spacecraft launched
2004: Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity lands

Moon phase Thursday 26

Venus 7° south of Moon

Moon phase Friday 27

Uranus 6° south of Moon

1967: Apollo 1 astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee die in cockpit fire on launch pad during test

Moon phase Saturday 28

1611: Johannes Hevelius born
1986: Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, 7 astronauts die

Moon phase Sunday 29

1964: SA-5 launched, first Saturn I Block 2 rocket
1989: Phobos 2 enters orbit around Mars

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