loading page

Wideband Microwave Radiometry for Remote Sensing of Lunar Regolith and Bedrock
  • Mustafa Aksoy
Mustafa Aksoy
University at Albany State University of New York

Corresponding Author:maksoy@albany.edu

Author Profile


The lunar surface consists of a regolith layer, i.e., fragmental and unconsolidated rock material of highly varied character, which covers the underlying bedrock. Understanding the structure and composition of the lunar regolith and the underlying bedrock is very important to reveal geologic features of the Moon, explore natural resources humans can exploit, and obtain valuable information regarding the history of the solar system. Electromagnetic radiations from the surface of the Moon at microwave frequencies depends on the physical, chemical, and electrical properties of the regolith layer and the bedrock. Moreover, the electromagnetic penetration depth changes with frequency which allows wideband microwave radiometers operating below 50 GHz to conveniently profile these properties versus depth to characterize the lunar regolith and bedrock with wide spatial coverage. Combining current models of depth-dependent physical and chemical properties with simple electromagnetic forward radiation models, surface emissions over the Apollo sites were simulated and compared with Chinese Chang’E-1 and Chang’E-2 multi-frequency microwave radiometer measurements. Potential sources of the differences between the simulations and measurements have been identified as the temperature dependence of the electrical properties of the regolith, bedrock type, surface and bedrock roughness, as well as density fluctuations, scattering due to inhomogeneities, and coherent interference of electromagnetic fields within the regolith. However, many of these subjects have been studied thoroughly for the remote sensing of the cryosphere; thus leveraging this experience with the rapid developments in radiometer designs, wideband microwave radiometers promise valuable scientific returns in future lunar missions.