The penetrating depth analysis of Lunar Penetrating Radar onboard Chang’e-3 rover

Shu-Guo Xing1,2, Yan Su1, Jian-Qing Feng1, Shun Dai1, Yuan Xiao1, Chun-Yu Ding1 and Chun-Lai Li1   2017-05-29 00:20:11

1 National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100012, China;

2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received 2016 May 5; accepted 2017 January 30

  Abstract Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) has successfully been used to acquire a large amount of scientific data during its in-situ detection. The analysis of penetrating depth can help to determine whether the target is within the effective detection range and contribute to distinguishing useful echoes from noise. First, this study introduces two traditional methods, both based on a radar transmission equation, to calculate the penetrating depth. The only difference between the two methods is that thefirst method adopts system calibration parameters given in the calibration report and the second one uses high-voltage-off radar data. However, some prior knowledge and assumptions are needed in the radar equation and the accuracy of assumptions will directly influence the final results. Therefore, a new method termed the Correlation Coefficient Method (CCM) is provided in this study, which is only based on radar data without any a priori assumptions. The CCM can obtain the penetrating depth according to the different correlation between reflected echoes and noise. To be exact, there is a strong correlation in the useful reflected echoes and a random correlation in the noise between adjacent data traces. In addition, this method can acquire a variable penetrating depth along the profile of the rover, but only one single depth value can be obtained from traditional methods. Through a simulation, the CCM has been verified as an effective method to obtain penetration depth. The comparisons and analysis of the calculation results of these three methods are also implemented in this study. Finally, results show that the ultimate penetrating depth of Channel 1 and the estimated penetrating depth of Channel 2 range from 136.9 m to 165.5 m (εr = 6.6) and from 13.0 m to 17.5 m (εr = 2.3), respectively.

Key words: space vehicles — instruments: Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) — techniques: radar astronomy—method: radar equation—method: correlation coefficient method

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