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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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This work explores the role of EISCAT 3D as a tool for planetary mapping. Due to the challenges inherent in detecting the signals reflected from far-away bodies, we have concluded that only the Moon is a viable mapping target. We estimate the impact of the ionosphere on lunar mapping, concluding that it's distorting effects should be easily manageable. EISCAT 3D will be useful for mapping the lunar nearside due to it's previously unused frequency (233 MHz) and it's interferometric capabilities.
Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2020-46
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2020-46

  29 Jul 2020

29 Jul 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Planetary Radar Science Case for EISCAT 3D

Torbjørn Tveito, Juha Vierinen, Björn Gustavsson, and Viswanathan Lakshmi Narayanan Torbjørn Tveito et al.
  • University of Tromsø, The Arctic University of Norway, Postboks 6050 Langnes, 9037 Tromsø, Norway

Abstract. Ground-based inverse synthetic aperture radar is a tool that can provide insights into the early history and formative processes of planetary bodies in the inner Solar System. This information is gathered by measuring the scattering matrix of the target body, providing composite information about the physical structure and chemical makeup of its surface and subsurface down to the penetration depth of the radio wave. This work describes the technical capabilities of the upcoming 233 MHz EISCAT 3D radar facility for measuring planetary surfaces. Estimates of the achievable signal-to-noise ratios for terrestrial target bodies are provided. While Venus and Mars can possibly be detected, only the Moon is found to have sufficient signal-to-noise ratio to allow high resolution mapping to be performed. The performance of the EISCAT 3D antenna layout is evaluated for interferometric range-Doppler disambiguation and it is found to be well suited for this task, providing up to 20 dB of separation between Doppler north and south hemispheres in our case study. The low frequency used by EISCAT 3D is more affected by the ionosphere than higher frequency radars. The magnitude of the Doppler broadening due to ionospheric propagation effects associated with traveling ionospheric disturbances has been estimated.The effect is found to be significant, but not severe enough to prevent high resolution imaging. A survey of Lunar observing opportunities between 2022 and 2040 are evaluated by investigating the path of the sub-radar point when the Moon is above the local radar horizon. During this time, a good variety of look directions and Doppler equator directions are found, with observations opportunities available for approximately ten days every lunar month. EISCAT 3D will be able to provide new high quality polarimetric scattering map of the near-side of the Moon with a previously unused wavelength of 1.3 m, which provides a good compromise between radio wave penetration depth and Doppler resolution.

Torbjørn Tveito et al.

 
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Torbjørn Tveito et al.

Torbjørn Tveito et al.

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Short summary
This work explores the role of EISCAT 3D as a tool for planetary mapping. Due to the challenges inherent in detecting the signals reflected from far-away bodies, we have concluded that only the Moon is a viable mapping target. We estimate the impact of the ionosphere on lunar mapping, concluding that it's distorting effects should be easily manageable. EISCAT 3D will be useful for mapping the lunar nearside due to it's previously unused frequency (233 MHz) and it's interferometric capabilities.
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