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PDS Geosciences Node, Washington University in St. Louis
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The Magellan Mission to Venus

The Magellan spacecraft, named after the sixteenth-century Portuguese explorer whose expedition first circumnavigated the Earth, was launched May 4, 1989, and arrived at Venus on August 10, 1990. During the first 8-month mapping cycle around Venus, Magellan collected radar images of 84 percent of the planet's surface, with resolution 10 times better than that of the earlier Soviet Venera 15 and 16 missions. Altimetry and radiometry data also measured the surface topography and electrical characteristics. During the extended mission, two further mapping cycles from May 15, 1991 to September 14, 1992 brought mapping coverage to 98% of the planet, with a resolution of approximately 100m. Precision radio tracking of the spacecraft measured Venus' gravitational field to show the planet's internal mass distribution and the forces that have created the surface features. Magellan's data permitted the first global geological understanding of Venus, the planet most like Earth in our solar system.

Read more about this mission on the Magellan Home Page.

All Magellan data sets are now available online.

The Venus Orbital Data Explorer (ODE) here at the Geosciences Node provides search capabilities for Magellan data sets.

Magellan Data Sets
F-BIDR: Full Resolution Basic Image Data Record
F-BIDRs are long, narrow, almost pole-to-pole image swaths that form the basic Magellan image data product. They are pieced together to form mosaics (F-MIDRs) for selected areas of the planet.
C-BIDR: Compressed Basic Image Data Record
C-BIDRs are compressed image swaths that are pieced together to form the compressed mosaics (C1, C2, and C3-MIDRs).
F-MIDR: Full Resolution Mosaicked Image Data Record
F-MIDRs are full-resolution image mosaics of selected areas of the planet.
C1-, C2-, C3-MIDR: Compressed Once, Twice, and Thrice Mosaicked Image Data Records
C1-MIDRs are compressed-resolution image mosaics covering a larger area at less resolution than the F-MIDRs. C2-MIDRs are twice-compressed, and C3-MIDRs are three-times-compressed.
ALT-EDR: Altimetry Experiment Data Record
The ALTEDR volumes contain Magellan ALT-EDR (Altimeter Experiment Data Record) archive products. They also contain documentation files which describe the ALT-EDRs. Each ALT-EDR data directory contains the raw altimeter data returned from one orbit and the ancillary files necessary to understand the data.
ARCDR: Processed Altimetry and Radiometry Composite Data Record
Along track estimates of elevation, Fresnel reflectivity, surface roughness, brightness temperature, emissivity derived from Magellan altimeter and radiometer data.
GXDR: Global Topography and Surface Property Data
The GxDR data set consists of MIT Altimetric and Radiometric Global Data Records: the Global Topography Data Record (GTDR), Global Emissivity Data Record (GEDR), Global Slope Data Record (GSDR), and Global Reflectivity Data Record (GREDR).
SCVDR: Surface Characteristics Vector Data Record
The Surface Characteristics Vector Data Record (SCVDR) is an orbit-by-orbit reduction of Magellan scattering and emission measurements carried out at Stanford University. The SCVDR includes near-nadir scattering functions obtained by numerical inversion from altimetry (ALT) echoes, results (e.g., rms surface slopes and Fresnel reflectivity) from fitting analytic functions to those inversions, scattering function segments at oblique incidence angles derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) echoes, and estimates of surface emissivity derived from thermal microwave radiometry (RAD) measurements. The SCVDR is one of several inputs to the Global Vector Data Record (GVDR), a gridded summary of scattering results, also produced at Stanford.
GVDR: Global Vector Data Record
The Global Vector Data Record (GVDR) is a sorted collection of scattering and emission measurements. The sorting is into a grid of equal area 'pixels' distributed regularly about the planet. For data acquired from the same pixel but in different observing geometries, there is a second level of sorting to accommodate the different geometrical conditions. The 'pixel' dimension is 18.225 km. The GVDR is presented in Sinusoidal Equal Area (equatorial), Mercator (equatorial), and Polar Stereographic (polar) projections.
BSR: Bistatic Radar
The Magellan Bistatic Radar Raw Data Archive is a time-ordered collection of raw and partially processed data from bistatic radar experiments conducted using the Magellan spacecraft while it orbited Venus. The Bistatic Radar Calibrated Data Archive contains time-ordered amplitude- and frequency-calibrated data, power spectra and voltage cross spectra, along with ancillary data.
LOSAPDR: Line Of Sight Acceleration Profile Data Record
This archive contains Magellan Cycle 4, 5 and 6 LOSAPDR (Line of Sight Acceleration Profile Data Record) products. It also contains documentation which describes the LOSAPDRs. Each LOSAPDR product contains the results from processing of radio tracking data of the Magellan spacecraft.
Spherical Harmonic, Topography, and Gravity Data
This archive contains Magellan spherical harmonic models of the Venusian gravity and topography field, and digital maps of Bouguer anomalies, free-air gravity accelerations and errors, geoid anomalies and errors, and topography.
Radio Tracking Data
This archive contains Magellan radio tracking data in the form of ODF and TDF files.
Post-Mission Derived Data Sets
Full-Resolution Radar Mosaics (FMAPs) at the PDS Imaging Node
This archive was produced by the U.S. Geological Survey after the Magellan mission ended. It contains full-resolution mosaicked images covering about 92% of the planet. Images were generated from the F-BIDR products. This link leads to the PDS Imaging Node web site.
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Curator: Susan Slavney
NASA Official: Raymond E. Arvidson
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