The purpose of the RADARSAT Antarctic Mapping Project (RAMP)is to produce the
first fine-resolution radar image-maps
of the entire Antarctic Continent. As in the Arctic, the Antarctic is dark much of the year and cloudy as well, so there are very few satellite optical
images of the continent. Thus, a radar map would be particularly useful.
carry a SAR, or synthetic aperture radar, capable of viewing the Earth with
resolutions better than 25 meters. Data for the project will be acquired over a
period of 18 days by
The image above shows the first 50 of 243 data passes over the continent, and
the center hole will be filled using the radar's extended beams.
The collection of Antarctic mapping data, to be planned
by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will require an unprecedented rotation of the satellite in orbit in order to acquire images of the South Pole.
On board tape recorders will store data for downlinking to Canadian ground
receiving stations and the Alaska SAR Facility. Data will be processed into images
by the ASF and the images will be sent to Ohio State University for compositing into
map products. Final products will be distributed through the ASF and the National
Snow and Ice Data Center.
The Radarsat mapping of Antarctica has generated considerable excitement in the
earth science community. The project will complete the first radar mapping of
a continent on
Earth. Interestingly, NASA's Magellan project to Venus has already acquired a radar-map of that planet's entire surface. More directly, the project will provide critical
benchmarks for gauging future changes in the extent, the shape, and the dynamics
of the great Antarctic Ice Sheet. It will also contribute to the understanding
of iceberg formation and the geologic history of the Antarctic continent.
The first Antarctic mapping is planned for October of 1996. A second mapping is
anticipated two to three years later.
For more information, contact John Crawford at email@example.com
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