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Proceedings Paper

Radar TopoMapper concept for planetary exploration
Author(s): Soren N. Madsen; Yun-Ling Lou; Scott Hensley; Wayne L. Harvey; William B. McKinnon
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Paper Abstract

Topographic information is key to interpreting the geology and geophysics of planetary bodies such as the icy Galilean satellites. Traditionally elevation information has been derived from stereo-photogrammetry, but the last couple of decades have offered new techniques, including radar interferometry, photoclinometry (shape from shading) and laser altimetry. Combining synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology with interferometry (InSAR) enables high resolution imaging with elevation information at each image point. With two appropriately spaced antennas on a spacecraft, single-pass imaging radar interferometry can provide wide swath topographic data, independent of solar illumination, as was recently demonstrated on Earth by the Shuttle Topographic Radar Mission (SRTM; We will present the science requirements, measurement principle, a straw-man’s design, and the predicted performance of a “compact SRTM” which could be flown on NASA missions such as the proposed Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO). In this paper we discuss challenges, including the calibration strategy and critical technology elements such as the high power RF-amplifier. We expect that the performance, both in terms of elevation accuracy and mapping rate would suffice to 1) determine topography on local and regional scales; 2) search for active geological change on the time scale of JIMO’s orbit around, e.g., Europa (30-60 days); and 3) determine the global tidal amplitude at Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede, which would constitute direct proof of the existence of oceans in all three icy moons.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 December 2004
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5660, Instruments, Science, and Methods for Geospace and Planetary Remote Sensing, (30 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.578994
Show Author Affiliations
Soren N. Madsen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Yun-Ling Lou, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Scott Hensley, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Wayne L. Harvey, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
William B. McKinnon, Washington Univ. in St. Louis (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5660:
Instruments, Science, and Methods for Geospace and Planetary Remote Sensing
Carl A. Nardell; Paul G. Lucey; Jeng-Hwa Yee; James B. Garvin, Editor(s)

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