Arecibo Radar Mapping of the Lunar Poles: A Search for Ice Deposits

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  06 Jun 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5318, pp. 1527-1530
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5318.1527


The Arecibo 12.6-centimeter wavelength radar system was used to image the polar regions of the moon at a resolution of 125 meters in a search for ice deposits in areas of possible permanent shadow from the sun. No areas greater than 1 square kilometer were found with high radar backscatter cross sections and high circular polarization ratios, properties suggestive of the presence of ice. A number of areas smaller than 1 square kilometer were found with these properties, but optical images from spacecraft missions have shown some of these features to be in sunlight. Arecibo radar images of Sinus Iridum at latitude 47°N also showed a number of small features with similar properties. The coincidence of some of these features with the radar-facing slopes of craters and their presence in sunlit areas suggests that very rough surfaces rather than ice deposits are responsible for their unusual radar properties.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: campbell{at}

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science