Global view of the surface of Venus centred at 270 degrees east longitude and 50 degrees southern latitude. Because a 100-km thick dense, opaque atmosphere shrouds Venus, conventional optical cameras cannot be used to image its surface. The imaging radar on NASA’s Magellan Venus orbiter used bursts of microwave energy, or "radar waves", to scan the planet's surface. With this so-called "synthetic aperture stereo radar" a global map of surface roughness of the planet was obtained. Displayed are the surface features mapped with the VIRTIS imaging spectrometer on Venus Express.