Mars Radar Opens a Planet's Third Dimension
- April 17, 2008
Radar sounder instruments orbiting Mars have looked beneath the Martian surface and opened up the third dimension for planetary exploration. The technique's success is prompting scientists to think of all the other places in the Solar System where they would like to use radar sounders.
The first radar sounder at Mars was the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) on the European Space Agency's Mars Express Orbiter. It has been joined by the complementary Shallow Subsurface Radar (SHARAD), operating at a different wavelength aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The data in this animation are from SHARAD.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/University of Rome/Washington University in St. Louis
Deployment of Mars Express Radar Antenna Sections (no audio)
- June 29, 2005
This animation portrays the unfolding of all three booms making up the
antenna for the radar instrument on the European Space Agency's Mars
Express orbiter. The first boom was deployed in May 2005. The other two
were deployed in June 2005. The animation is based on calculated
simulations of how each boom could have extended itself from the folded
position in which it had been stored. Now the instrument is ready to begin
its work of looking below Mars's surface for buried features, possibly
including water-bearing layers, and examining the ionized layer at the top
of Mars' atmosphere. The instrument, Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface
and Ionosphere Sounding, was jointly funded by NASA and the Italian Space
Agency. It was developed by the University of Rome, Italy, in partnership
with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The University of
Iowa, Iowa City, built the transmitter for the instrument, JPL built the
receiver, and Astro Aerospace, Carpinteria, Calif., built the antenna.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ESA