Magellan: Electrical and Physical Properties of Venus' Surface

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Science  12 Apr 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5003, pp. 265-270
DOI: 10.1126/science.252.5003.265


Magellan probes Venus' surface by 12.6-cm-wavelength vertical and oblique radar scattering and measures microwave thermal emission. Emissivity and root-meansquare slope maps between 330° and 30°E and 90°N and 80°S are dissimilar, although some local features are exceptions. Inferred surface emissivities typically are ∼0.85, but vary from ∼0.35 at Maxwell to ∼0.95 northeast of Gula Mons and other locations. Lowest emissivities appear in topographically high areas; this relation suggests that a phase change or differences in chemical weathering occur at about 6055-kilometer radius. Initial results indicate that there are significant variations in the surface scattering function.

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