- About PSI
|SHARAD is the Shallow Radar instrument onboard MRO, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). SHARAD is a sounding radar that emits a 10-watt chirped pulse downswept from 25 to 15 megahertz, yielding a 15-meter range resolution in free space.|
Dielectric contrasts between the atmosphere and surface and between layers in the subsurface (e.g., water and carbon-dioxide ices, ash deposits, lava flows) reflect a portion of the radar signal back toward the spacecraft. The returned signals are detected by the same SHARAD antenna that transmitted the original signal moments earlier. The data are processed onboard and back on Earth to produce radargrams, which are 2-D cross-sectional views of the signal power from the subsurface.
|SHARAD was provided to MRO by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and is operated under contract to SHARAD Team Leader Roberto Seu at the Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Informazione, Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni (DIET), Sapienza – Università di Roma. PSI contributes to operations through the coordination of instrument targeting, led by Deputy/U.S. Team Leader Nathaniel Putzig.|
In addition to operations support, PSI hosts the Colorado SHARAD Radar Processing System (CO-SHARPS), which supplements the Italian-produced standard SHARAD products archived in the Planetary Data System. A primary feature of CO-SHARPS is the processing boutique, which allows the use of custom processing parameters to produce radargrams that may better resolve features specific to individual locations on Mars. CO-SHARPS was established in 2006 (as WU-SHARPS at Washington University in St. Louis) by former SHARAD Deputy Team Leader Roger Phillips.
MRO and the SHARAD antenna (white bar)
SHARAD instrument and antenna (folded for launch)
Beginning 2014 March 16, web access to the CO-SHARPS Processing Boutique is available by request. Please click the 'Request Access' button and complete the email form (or send a note directly to co-sharps 'at' lists.psi.edu). A CO-SHARPS staff member will respond with instructions for accessing the system.