A Comparison of Radar Polarimetry Data of the Moon from the LRO Mini-RF Instrument and Earth-Based Systems

Lynn M. Carter, Bruce A. Campbell, Catherine D. Neish, Michael C. Nolan, G. Wesley Patterson, J. Robert Jensen, D. B.J. Bussey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The Mini-RF radar, launched on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, imaged the lunar surface using hybrid-polarimetric, transmitting one circular polarization and receiving linear H and V polarizations. Earth-based radar operating at the same frequency has acquired data of the same terrains using circular-polarized transmit waves and sampling circular polarizations. For lunar targets where the viewing geometry is nearly the same, the polarimetry derived from Mini-RF and the earth-based data should be very similar. However, we have discovered that there is a considerable difference in circular polarization ratio (CPR) values between the two data sets. We investigate possible causes for this discrepancy, including cross-talk between channels, sampling, and the ellipticity of the Mini-RF transmit wave. We find that none of these can reproduce the observed CPR differences, though a nonlinear block adaptive quantization function used to compress the data will significantly distort some other polarimetry products. A comparison between earth-based data sets acquired using two different sampling modes (sampling received linear polarizations and sampling circular polarizations) suggests that the CPR differences may be partially due to sampling the data in a different receive polarimetry bases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7803655
Pages (from-to)1915-1927
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Moon
  • radar imaging
  • radar polarimetry
  • remote sensing
  • spaceborne radar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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