Planetary Exploration

Planetary Exploration

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Originally envisioned as an uplink experiment with high-powered transmitters on Earth providing illumination, planetary bistatic radar needed a spacecraft receiver either in orbit or flying nearby to sample and record echo signals reflected from the target. The radio data could then be returned in the spacecraft science telemetry stream along with camera images, infrared spectra, magnetic held measurements, and other data acquired at or around the same time. Unfortunately, the added costs associated with uplink spacecraft radio instrumentation and the scheduling conflicts introduced by adding another investigation with unique attitude requirements (pointing the spacecraft antenna toward the planet) have largely relegated bistatic radar to add-on or piggyback status - an experiment of opportunity, which more readily could be conducted in a downlink configuration using existing hardware.

Chapter Contents:

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Principles of Operation
  • 5.3 Polarization Measurements
  • 5.4 Coherent Backscatter Opposition Effect and the Search for Lunar Water Ice
  • 5.5 Transient Surface Echoes at Occultation
  • 5.6 Uplink Bistatic Radar
  • 5.7 Recapitulation and Future Experiments
  • References

Inspec keywords: space vehicles; astronomical techniques; radar transmitters; radar receivers

Other keywords: spacecraft science telemetry stream; spacecraft receiver; planetary bistatic radar; radio data; planetary exploration; camera images; Earth; illumination; high-powered transmitters; uplink experiment

Subjects: Astronomical techniques; Radar equipment, systems and applications

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