The development of sounding techniques and radar imagery in the study of planet surfaces and subsurfaces has enabled us to explore the geophysical properties of many parts of our solar system, in particular Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars and the Titan, as well as asteroids and comets. The new observations have brought about a fundamental change in our understanding of the geological and geophysical evolution of the various planetary environments. Sounding radars are able to explore these environments through the penetration of geological material with low-frequency electromagnetic waves. Penetration depth can be anything from a few centimetres to several kilometres, depending on the sounding frequency and the physical properties of the ground. Low-frequency radars have thus become indispensable tools, accompanying every geophysical prospection related to planetary environments. The performance and scientific usefulness of these exploration systems is highly dependent on our understanding of the electromagnetic properties of the different planetary settings, and their evolution in terms of a) environmental factors (e.g. temperature, pressure, UV rays) and b) geophysical factors (density, porosity, saturation and temperature). Sadly, the parametric evolution of these electromagnetic properties is still relatively unknown for many parts of the solar system.
This research aims to respond to this problem by studying the electromagnetic properties of the various planetary surfaces, using two methods:
(1) Experimental study on the electric permittivity and magnetic permeability of materials similar to the different planetary and terrestrial surfaces, according to the different environmental and geophysical factors on the surface and subsurface.
(2) Inversion of sounding data from planetary radars, to refer back to the geoelectric and geomagnetic properties of the areas studied.
Furthermore, this study is combined with the optimisation and interpretation of data from sounding experiments and radar images for planetary environments and their terrestrial counterparts (e.g. volcanic environments, desert regions and glaciers).
At present, our experiments cover materials similar to those found on Venus, Mars, Earth, the Moon, comets and asteroids. Data is collected in close collaboration with the Lunar and Planetary Institute (Houston, USA), NASA Johnson Space Center (Houston, USA) and the laboratoire de Physique d’Interaction Onde Matière (Pessac, France).
Essam Heggy, IPGP
Associates within the Paris Institute of Earth Physics
Joséphine Boisson, IPGP-Université Paris VII
Jean Pierre Frangi, IPGP-Université Paris VII
Philippe Lognonné, IPGP-Université Paris VII
Maria Zamora, IPGP-Université Paris VII
Asphaug E. (Univeristy of California Santa Cruz)
Chicaro A. (ESA)
Ciarletti V. et WISDOM-team (CETP-IPSL)
Costard F. et N. Mangold (IDES)
Clifford S.M. (LPI)
Grandjean G., N. Baghdadi (BRGM)
Grimm R. et D. Stillmann (SWRI)
Khan S. (University of Houston)
Kofman W. et A. Herique (LPG)
Miane J.L., G. Ruffié, J.P. Pareneix (PIOM-ENSCPB)
Paillou P. et Yannick Lasne (OASU)
Picardi G. et MARSIS-team (Université de Rome)
Plaut J., A. Safaeinili, A. Ivanov, T. Farr, S. Ostro (JPL-Caltech)
Morris R.V. et K. Righter (NASA Johnson Space Center)
Planetary radar equipment:
MARSIS (Mars Express, ESA, 2004)
CONSERT (Rosetta, ESA, 2004-2014)
WISDOM (ExoMars, ESA, 2011)
VISRS (Venus Entry Probe, ESA, 2014)
Région Ile de France
NASA-Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program
Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique
Centre Nationale d’Etudes Spatiales
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris - Mise à jour 12/2013
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