This animation is a brief tour of the global terrain of the planet Venus as revealed by radar onboard the Magellan spacecraft. The height of the terrain is color-coded, with blues and greens representing low altitudes and reds representing high altitudes. Highlighted are two large "continents," or highlands, Aphrodite Terra and Ishtar Terra; the Maxwell Montes mountain range; and Maat Mons, a large, currently dormant volcano.
Magellan arrived at Venus in August of 1990 and spent four years there collecting data. The elevation map used here was created with data collected during the first mapping cycle. Many of the coverage gaps, represented here by black pixels, were filled in during later mapping cycles.
Simulation of a natural color surface. The true surface color of Venus has not been mapped. Color variations in this view are based on a global radar map of surface slope, which tends to highlight rougher terrain. Relatively flat plains, some covered by old lava floods, are darker in this view.