- Original Caption Released with Image:
This radar image of the Midland/Odessa region of West Texas, demonstrates an experimental technique, called ScanSAR, that allows scientists to rapidly image large areas of the Earth's surface. The large image covers an area 245 kilometers by 225 kilometers (152 miles by 139 miles).
It was obtained by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) flying aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on October 5, 1994. The smaller inset image is a standard SIR-C image showing a portion of the same area, 100 kilometers by 57 kilometers (62 miles by 35 miles) and was taken during the first flight of SIR-C on April 14, 1994. The bright spots on the right side of the image are the cities of Odessa (left) and Midland (right), Texas. The Pecos River runs from the top center to the bottom center of the image. Along the left side of the image are, from top to bottom, parts of the Guadalupe, Davis and Santiago Mountains. North is toward the upper right. Unlike conventional radar imaging, in which a radar continuously illuminates a single ground swath as the space shuttle passes over the terrain, a Scansar radar illuminates several adjacent ground swaths almost simultaneously, by "scanning" the radar beam across a large area in a rapid sequence. The adjacent swaths, typically about 50 km (31 miles) wide, are then merged during ground processing to produce a single large scene. Illumination for this L-band scene is from the top of the image. The beams were scanned from the top of the scene to the bottom, as the shuttle flew from left to right. This scene was acquired in about 30 seconds. A normal SIR-C image is acquired in about 13 seconds. The ScanSAR mode will likely be used on future radar sensors to construct regional and possibly global radar images and topographic maps. The ScanSAR processor is being designed for 1996 implementation at NASA's Alaska SAR Facility, located at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and will produce digital images from the forthcoming Canadian RADARSAT satellite.
Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves, allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity.
SIR-C was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), with the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft und Raumfahrt e.v.(DLR), the major partner in science, operations, and data processing of X-SAR.
- Image Credit:
Image Addition Date: