In the last activity, you were unable to see, touch, or even reach the object inside. In this activity, you still will not be able to see the inside, which in this case is a simulated surface of a planet, but you will use a special method to gather more precise information about what the inside looks like.
In May, 1989, the Magellan spacecraft was launched. It arrived at Venus in August of 1990. Because Venus is perpetually covered with thick clouds, Magellan was equipped with a special imager using radar to "see through the clouds" and map over 98% of the surface of the planet.
Click here to see images from the Magellan spacecraft of Venus
How much more detail do you see in these images of Venus than if you were just looking though the clouds?
In this second phase of your training, you will learn how to do a similar type of mapping. You and your teammates will be given a sample of a planet's surface. It will be in a container where it is not possible to directly see it. You will get an idea of hills ,valleys, canyons, or other features by inserting a probe through the top of the container and noting how deep your probe went in before it comes in contact with a solid surface. The deeper the probe goes in, the lower the surface is. You will decide with your teammates what method you want to use to take your measurements. You will have to first prepare your probe:
Probe Calibration: Equipment needed:
Planet Surface Mapping Procedure