31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 20. Asteroid Physical Nature and Families
Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Tuesday, October 12, 1999, 8:30-10:00am, Sala Plenaria

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[20.02] Radar Interferometric Imaging of Near-Earth Asteroids

J. L. Margot, M. C. Nolan (NAIC - Arecibo Observatory)

High resolution imagery and a three-dimensional characterization of Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) can be obtained with ground-based radars. The Arecibo and Goldstone radar systems yield data at spatial resolutions comparable to the highest resolution spacecraft images of asteroids obtained to date. The use of radar interferometry techniques can further improve imaging and shape reconstruction algorithms [1],[2] and may allow direct measurements of the topography of NEAs. A two-element radar interferometer of appropriate baseline provides an observable, the interferometric phase, which can be used to extract three-dimensional information about the target [3], hence giving additional control in shape modeling procedures. The measurement of interferometric phase also opens the possibility of mapping the topography of an asteroid, in a manner similar to that applied recently to the Moon [4]. Simulations show that this is feasible when potential ambiguities in range-Doppler imaging are avoided, for instance when elongated objects are in a favorable orientation. Radar interferometric imaging of 6489 Golevka was attempted during its June 1999 close approach to Earth [5]. The Arecibo 305 m telescope was used to transmit, and the DSN 70 m antenna in Madrid formed the second element of the interferometer. The Arecibo-Madrid baseline defined an ideal fringe pattern for interferometric mapping, but technical difficulties prevented imaging of the Madrid data. Radar interferometry concepts and simulation results will be presented, as well as any new data acquired before the meeting.

\noindent [1] R. S. Hudson and S. J. Ostro (1994). Science, 263, 940. [2] R. S. Hudson and S. J. Ostro (1995). Science, 270, 84. [3] I. I. Shapiro et al. (1972). Science, 178, 939. [4] J. L. Margot et al. (1999). Science, 284, 1658. [5] J. L. Margot and M. C. Nolan (1999). ACM Meeting, July 26-30, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

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