Topography of the Lunar Poles from Radar Interferometry: A Survey of Cold Trap Locations

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Science  04 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5420, pp. 1658-1660
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5420.1658

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Detailed topographic maps of the lunar poles have been obtained by Earth-based radar interferometry with the 3.5-centimeter wavelength Goldstone Solar System Radar. The interferometer provided maps 300 kilometers by 1000 kilometers of both polar regions at 150-meter spatial resolution and 50-meter height resolution. Using ray tracing, these digital elevation models were used to locate regions that are in permanent shadow from solar illumination and may harbor ice deposits. Estimates of the total extent of shadowed areas poleward of 87.5 degrees latitude are 1030 and 2550 square kilometers for the north and south poles, respectively.

  • * Present address: Arecibo Observatory, HC3 Box 53995, Arecibo, PR 00612, Puerto Rico.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: margot{at} (J.L.M.); campbell{at} (D.B.C.)

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