Planetary Science Seminar
The Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a hybrid dual-polarized synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that operated in concert with the Arecibo Observatory to collect bistatic radar data of the lunar nearside from 2012 to 2015. The purpose of this bistatic campaign was to characterize the radar scattering properties of the surface and near-surface, as a function of bistatic angle, for a variety of lunar terrains and search for a coherent backscatter opposition effect indicative of the presence of water ice. A variety of lunar terrain types were sampled over a range of incidence and bistatic angles; including mare, highland, pyroclastic, crater ejecta, and crater floor materials. Responses consistent with an opposition effect were observed for the ejecta of several Copernican-aged craters and the floor of the south-polar crater Cabeus. The responses of ejecta material varied by crater in a manner that suggests a relationship with crater age. The response for Cabeus was observed within the portion of its floor that is not in permanent shadow. The character of the response differs from that of crater ejecta and appears unique with respect to all other lunar terrains observed. Analysis of data for this region suggests that the unique nature of the response may indicate the presence of near-surface deposits of water ice.