Mars echo from Italian radar reported

Sep 19, 2006

Italian and U.S. space agency officials say they've received the first signals from an Italian radar orbiting Mars to search for water or ice on the planet.

The radar signals from the SHARAD (shallow subsurface radar) system showed it was working perfectly, Italian officials at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., said.

The head of the Italian Space Agency, Sergio Vetrella, told the Italian news agency ANSA the signals confirmed "Italy's leadership in the sector." SHARAD is mounted on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Observer, the second probe to visit Mars in two years.

Another Italian radar system aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft is MARSIS -- Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding. It maps wide areas at about 16.5 feet under the surface, while SHARAD scans in greater detail to a depth of about 6.5 feet, officials told ANSA.

"The two radars were designed to work in tandem," said SHARAD project coordinator Enrico Flamini of the Italian Space Agency. MARSIS, he explained, is designed to find oceans deep under Mars' surface, while SHARAD looks for pools or rivers just under the planet's crust.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Up, up and away, in the name of science education

Related Stories

Comet-chasing probe to be roused from sleep

Jan 16, 2014

One of the most ambitious missions in the history of space goes into high-risk mode on Monday when Europe rouses a comet-chasing probe from years of hibernation.

NASA Mars research helps find buried water on Earth

Sep 15, 2011

A NASA-led team has used radar sounding technology developed to explore the subsurface of Mars to create high-resolution maps of freshwater aquifers buried deep beneath an Earth desert, in the first use of ...

Recommended for you

Up, up and away, in the name of science education

10 hours ago

US researchers extol the virtues of high-altitude balloons for science education in a research paper published in the International Journal of Learning Technology. According to Jeremy Straub of the University of North Dakota ...

New plan proposed to send humans to Mars

11 hours ago

A new, cost-constrained U.S. strategy to send humans on Mars, could be achieved within projected NASA budgets by minimizing new developments and relying mainly on already available or planned NASA assets. ...

'Cause unknown' in SpaceX rocket blast

13 hours ago

SpaceX came up empty Monday in its search to figure out why an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket exploded minutes after blasting off from a NASA launchpad with a load of space-bound cargo.

SOFIA points telescope toward Pluto occultation

16 hours ago

The Stratosphere Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that makes celestial observations with its German-built 100-inch telescope. The telescope is enhanced to collect ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.