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To See the Unseen: A History of Planetary Radar AstronomyThis book relates the history of planetary radar astronomy from its origins in radar to the present day and secondarily to bring to light that history as a case of 'Big Equipment but not Big Science'. Chapter One sketches the emergence of radar astronomy as an ongoing scientific activity at Jodrell Bank, where radar research revealed that meteors were part of the solar system. The chief Big Science driving early radar astronomy experiments was ionospheric research. Chapter Two links the Cold War and the Space Race to the first radar experiments attempted on planetary targets, while recounting the initial achievements of planetary radar, namely, the refinement of the astronomical unit and the rotational rate and direction of Venus. Chapter Three discusses early attempts to organize radar astronomy and the efforts at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, in conjunction with Harvard radio astronomers, to acquire antenna time unfettered by military priorities. Here, the chief Big Science influencing the development of planetary radar astronomy was radio astronomy. Chapter Four spotlights the evolution of planetary radar astronomy at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a NASA facility, at Cornell University's Arecibo Observatory, and at Jodrell Bank. A congeries of funding from the military, the National Science Foundation, and finally NASA marked that evolution, which culminated in planetary radar astronomy finding a single Big Science patron, NASA. Chapter Five analyzes planetary radar astronomy as a science using the theoretical framework provided by philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn. Chapter Six explores the shift in planetary radar astronomy beginning in the 1970s that resulted from its financial and institutional relationship with NASA Big Science. Chapter Seven addresses the Magellan mission and its relation to the evolution of planetary radar astronomy from a ground-based to a space-based activity. Chapters Eight and Nine discuss the research carried out at ground-based facilities by this transformed planetary radar astronomy, as well as the upgrading of the Arecibo and Goldstone radars. A technical essay appended to this book provides an overview of planetary radar techniques, especially range-Doppler mapping.
Document ID
19960045321
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Special Publication (SP)
Authors
Butrica, Andrew J.
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1996
Subject Category
Astronomy
Report/Patent Number
NASA-SP-4218
LC-95-35890
NAS 1.21:4218
Accession Number
96N32275
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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