Planetary Radar—State-of-the-Art Review

Anne K. Virkki, Catherine D. Neish, Edgard G. Rivera-Valentín, Sriram S. Bhiravarasu, Dylan C. Hickson, Michael C. Nolan, Roberto Orosei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Planetary radar observations have provided invaluable information on the solar system through both ground-based and space-based observations. In this overview article, we summarize how radar observations have contributed in planetary science, how the radar technology as a remote-sensing method for planetary exploration and the methods to interpret the radar data have advanced in the eight decades of increasing use, where the field stands in the early 2020s, and what are the future prospects of the ground-based facilities conducting planetary radar observations and the planned spacecraft missions equipped with radar instruments. The focus of the paper is on radar as a remote-sensing technique using radar instruments in spacecraft orbiting planetary objects and in Earth-based radio telescopes, whereas ground-penetrating radar systems on landers are mentioned only briefly. The key scientific developments are focused on the search for water ice in the subsurface of the Moon, which could be an invaluable in situ resource for crewed missions, dynamical and physical characterization of near-Earth asteroids, which is also crucial for effective planetary defense, and a better understanding of planetary geology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5605
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • asteroids
  • planetary radar
  • planets
  • radar polarimetry
  • radar sounding
  • synthetic aperture radar
  • the Moon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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