Multimedia Features

Text Size

Mars Radar Opens a Planet's Third Dimension
animation beneath the surface of Mars
> High resolution version

Radar sounder instruments orbiting Mars have looked beneath the Martian surface and opened up the third dimension for planetary exploration. The technique’s success is prompting scientists to think of all the other places in the Solar System where they would like to use radar sounders.

The first radar sounder at Mars was the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) on the European Space Agency's Mars Express Orbiter. It has been joined by the complementary Shallow Subsurface Radar (SHARAD), operating at a different wavelength aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The data in this animation are from SHARAD.

Image credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/University of Rome/Washington University in St. Louis