Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) can provide useful images in situations where passive optical imaging cannot, either because the microwaves used can penetrate atmospheric clouds, because active imaging can "see in the dark," or both. We have participated in the NASA Magellan mission to Venus in the 1990s and the current NASA-ESA Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan, which have used SAR to see through the clouds of Venus and Titan, respectively, and have developed software and techniques for the production of digital topographic models (DTMs) from radar stereopairs. We are currently preparing for similar radargrammetric analysis of data from the Mini-RF instrument to be carried to the Moon on both the ISRO Chandrayaan-1 and NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) missions later in 2008. These instruments are intended to image the permanently shadowed areas at the lunar poles and even see below the surface to detect possible water ice deposits. In this paper, we describe our approach to radargrammetric topographic mapping, based on the use of the USGS ISIS software system to ingest and prepare data, and the commercial stereoanalysis software SOCET SET (® BAE Systems), augmented with custom sensor models we have implemented, for DTM production and editing. We describe the commonalities and differences between the various data sets, and some of the lessons learned, both radargrammetric and geoscientific.
Additional publication details
Radargrammetry on three planets
The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
B4, Comission IV
The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing