Collection Item Summary:
This is the display stand for a 1:25-scale model of the Magellan space probe. The model depicts the first dedicated U.S. mission to study the surface of Venus in detail. Magellan’s main goals were to take radar images of Venus’ surface, make a topographic map of Venus, acquire gravity field data, and develop an understanding of the geological structure of the planet, including its density distribution and dynamics. Magellan was launched on May 4, 1989, and began orbiting Venus on August 10, 1990. Magellan recorded data until it burned up in Venus’ atmosphere on October 13 or 14, 1994. By the end of the Magellan mission, the spacecraft had mapped over 99% of the planet’s surface, with a resolution ten times better than the earlier Soviet Venera 15 and 16 missions had obtained.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory transferred the model along with this stand to the Museum in June 1990.