Evidence for crater ejecta on Venus tessera terrain from Earth-based radar images

Bruce A. Campbell, Donald B. Campbell, Gareth A. Morgan, Lynn M. Carter, Michael C. Nolan, John F. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

We combine Earth-based radar maps of Venus from the 1988 and 2012 inferior conjunctions, which had similar viewing geometries. Processing of both datasets with better image focusing and co-registration techniques, and summing over multiple looks, yields maps with 1-2. km spatial resolution and improved signal to noise ratio, especially in the weaker same-sense circular (SC) polarization. The SC maps are unique to Earth-based observations, and offer a different view of surface properties from orbital mapping using same-sense linear (HH or VV) polarization. Highland or tessera terrains on Venus, which may retain a record of crustal differentiation and processes occurring prior to the loss of water, are of great interest for future spacecraft landings. The Earth-based radar images reveal multiple examples of tessera mantling by impact "parabolas" or "haloes", and can extend mapping of locally thick material from Magellan data by revealing thinner deposits over much larger areas. Of particular interest is an ejecta deposit from Stuart crater that we infer to mantle much of eastern Alpha Regio. Some radar-dark tessera occurrences may indicate sediments that are trapped for longer periods than in the plains. We suggest that such radar information is important for interpretation of orbital infrared data and selection of future tessera landing sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalIcarus
Volume250
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cratering
  • Radar observations
  • Venus, surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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