Ganymede: Observations by Radar

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Science  20 Jun 1975:
Vol. 188, Issue 4194, pp. 1211-1212
DOI: 10.1126/science.188.4194.1211


Radar cross-section measurements indicate that Ganymede scatters to Earth 12 percent of the power expected from a conducting sphere of the same size and distance. This compares with 8 percent for Mars, 12 percent for Venus, 6 percent for Mercury, and about 8 percent for the asteroid Toro. Furthermore, Ganymede is considerably rougher (to the scale of the wavelength used, 12.6 centimeters) than Mars, Venus, or Mercury. Roughness is made evident in this experiment by the presence of echoes away from the center of the disk. A perfectly smooth target would reflect only a glint from the center, whereas a very rough target would reflect power from over the entire disk.