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Mars radar sounding technology helps discover new water reservoirs on Earth

by Rusti 2011-09-28 16:43

 

Mars-orbiting spacecrafts discover water

A NASA-led team has originally developed the radar sounding technology to explore the subsurface of Planet Mars by Mars-orbiting spacecrafts. The success of the concept has found its new application to search for and locate freshwater aquifers naturally developed deep beneath an Earth surface, especially in deserts. An aquifer is a body of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater, the containing body is characterized as both permeable and porous saturated rock through which water can easily move and accumulate in large volumes, making an underground aquifers natural sources of water. 

The NASA sounding radar development team used the 40 MHz airborne sounding radar as a centerpiece of the fully functioning sound radar probe prototype. The airborne radar ran numerous probes of the northern Kuwait desert sub-surface. As a result the high-resolution topographic map has been compiled by the radar computer creating the high-resolution image of the cross layer of the aquifer. The massive scale sequence of high resolution map scans revealed the depth and extent of aquifers, and provided the vital information to build the three dimensional models of the aquifers. 

The NASA lead team of international researchers not only successfully demonstrated that the radar prototype which was installed on board of helicopter, could efficiently and reliably perform searches with high accuracy within range of altitudes, and located several subsurface aquifers. Additionally the radar revealed on the generated high resolution maps the probe variations in the depth of the water table. The collected information helped the team of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research identify vital locations where water flowed into and out of the aquifers. The radar sounding prototype exposes key characteristics found with NASA radar instruments flying on Mars-orbiting spacecrafts, for example famous Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding and NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The new radar technology opens many uses not only locate freshwater aquifers, but in many other exploration projects of high importance to better understand the climate change and global warming effects. The extensions of new radar technology are also integrated with latest achievements in GPS navigation, inertial navigation and laser altimetry. The scale of sound radar enabled applications varies from large, such as discovery of freshwater aquifers, or oceanic projects, to smaller uses in every day practical devices, such as GPS navigation chartplotter and GPS fishfinder devices widely used by fishermen, marine adventurers and open water enthusiasts. 

NASA sounding radar technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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