JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Magellan spacecraft's last experiment. Artist's impression of the Magellan radar-mapping spacecraft burning up in the atmosphere of Venus. On 10 October 1994 NASA scientists will let Magellan descend from its current orbit to a point where it starts to feel the drag of the upper atmosphere of the planet. Differential drag on the solar panels will cause the spacecraft to roll, a tendency which will be resisted by the attitude control motors. This experiment, known as 'Windmill', will give valuable data on the properties of the upper atmosphere. Once the fuel for the motors runs out, Magellan will fall deeper into the atmosphere and burn up four days later.
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