Section 37
Chapter 36,974

Circular polarization ratio characteristics of impact craters from Mini-RF observations and implications for ice detection at the polar regions of the Moon

Fa, W.; Cai, Y.

Journal of Geophysical Research Planets 118(8): 1582-1608


ISSN/ISBN: 0148-0227
DOI: 10.1002/jgre.20110
Accession: 036973293

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In an attempt to reduce the ambiguity on radar detection of water ice at the permanently shadowed regions near the lunar poles, radar echo strength and circular polarization ratio (CPR) of impact craters are analyzed using the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) radar data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. Eight typical craters, among over 70 craters, are selected and classified into four categories based on their locations and CPR characteristics: polar anomalous, polar fresh, non-polar anomalous and non-polar fresh. The influences on CPR caused by surface slope, rocks and dielectric constant are analyzed quantitatively using high resolution topography data and optical images. A two-component mixed model for CPR that consists of a normal surface and a rocky surface is developed to study the effect of rocks that are perched on lunar surface and buried in regolith. Our analyses show that inner wall of a typical bowl-shaped crater can give rise to a change of about 30 in local incidence angle of radar wave, which can further result in a CPR difference of about 0.2. There is a strong correlation between Mini-RF CPR and rock abundance that is obtained from high resolution optical images, and predictions from the two-component mixed model match well with the observed CPRs and the estimated rock abundances. Statistical results show that there is almost no apparent difference in CPR characteristics between the polar and non-polar anomalous craters, or between the polar and non-polar fresh craters. The enhanced CPR in the interior of anomalous craters is most probably caused by rocks that are perched on lunar surface or buried in regolith, instead of ice deposits as suggested in previous studies.

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