PSJC #147 September 27 2013
Catherine Neish (FIT)
Radar Love: Mini-RF Observes the Moon
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) represents a unique way to observe the
surface of planets. Using ground-based and orbital platforms, radars
have provided new information about the topography, composition, and
surface roughness of our planetary neighbors, as well as our own world.
In June 2009, NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
carrying the Mini-RF synthetic aperture radar. Since then, Mini-RF
has imaged two-thirds of the Moon at 30 m resolution, in both polar
and non-polar regions. In this talk, I will summarize the discoveries
made by Mini-RF in its first three years of operations. In particular,
I will discuss (a) how the unusual radar properties of ice may lead to
its detection in the permanently shadowed regions at the poles of the
Moon, and (b) how new observations of lunar impact melts are leading to
a better understanding of the impact cratering process.