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Proceedings Paper

Application Of Millimeter-Wave Remote Sensing To The Investigation Of Comets
Author(s): Robert W. Hobbs; John C. Brandt; Stephen P. Maran; John S. Chitwood; Rudolph K. Larsen; Charles Katz; Stanley Becker; Ronald M. Rudish; Ross K. Hendricks; Paul Swanson
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Paper Abstract

Despite years of investigation, the solid, quasi-permanent component of comets, the nucleus, remains largely a mystery. Its composition and thermal properties determine the evolution of the more familiar and often spectacular cometary features, the coma and the tail. Under some circumstances, the (≈200 K) nucleus may be obscured by a dust cloud of much higher temperature. It appears that the most appropriate technology for the investigation of the surface and subsurface layers of the nucleus is millimeter-wave sensing from an interplanetary spacecraft. Simple radiative transfer models, adapted from methods used for the interpretation of remote-sensing data on terrestrial ice and snow fields, are used to predict the millimeter-wave spectra of representative model nuclei. The spectra guide the choice of the minimum set of observing frequencies that is required. An instrument configuration driven by these requirements and guided by available technology and the constraints of a proposed NASA spacecraft, is then derived.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 February 1981
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0259, Millimeter Optics, (27 February 1981); doi: 10.1117/12.959657
Show Author Affiliations
Robert W. Hobbs, NASA (United States)
John C. Brandt, NASA (United States)
Stephen P. Maran, NASA (United States)
John S. Chitwood, NASA (United States)
Rudolph K. Larsen, NASA (United States)
Charles Katz, NASA (United States)
Stanley Becker, Eaton Corporation (United States)
Ronald M. Rudish, Eaton Corporation (United States)
Ross K. Hendricks, Eaton Corporation (United States)
Paul Swanson, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0259:
Millimeter Optics
George A. Tanton, Editor(s)

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