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Wind Installers

Venus Add-on

For over forty years, many spacecraft have visited our torrid and caustic neighbor. Missions have been conducted by the Soviets, NASA and the European Space Agency. With temperatures near 500 C (~900 F) and surface pressures 90 times that of Earth, the carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid atmosphere has destroyed surface craft within hours of touchdown. Nevertheless, these brief observations provided the only direct images of the Venerean surface.

Orbiting spacecraft have fared much better and almost all of the surface has been mapped to some extent. The thick cloud cover precludes direct observation of the surface, so tools such as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) have been employed. The most comprehensive high resolution visualization of Venus was acquired by NASA's Magellan mission between 1990 and 1994. Recently, ESA has begun the Venus Express mission, which arrived in 2006 and is expected to continue until 2009.

The Venus Add-on for NASA World Wind depicts the high resolution SAR imagery accumulated by Magellan. These highly detailed maps are presented in color and grayscale. The craters, mountains, valleys and other geographic features of the surface are identified by type. Craters and surface features are named for famous women goddesses and mythical figures from many different cultures. Entry points and landing sites of the various surface and atmospheric missions are also illustrated.


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Venus Surface Maps
The surface of Venus in grayscale.
The surface of Venus in color.