MARSIS Sounding Radar on PlanetServer

The ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) on board ESA Mars Express spacecraft is a low frequency, nadir-looking radar sounder and altimeter with ground penetration capabilities, which uses synthetic aperture techniques. It does explore both the ionosphere and subsurface of Mars.

Its subsurface capabilities are particularly relevant for understanding Mars geologic and climatic history.

The correct understanding of subsurface planetary radar sounder data (MRO SHARAD is a companion experiment on board NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter , also co-developed by ASI) depends, among other factors, on the knowledge of surface clutter effects on a certain observation, which could mimic subsurface reflectors.


Simulating data with known topography (i.e. creating a synthetic so-called radargram) and comparing with real data acquired by the spacecraft allows the detection of genuine subsurface reflectors.

The early client using EarthServer technology and PlanetServer developments and heritage is going to be available on a specific PlanetServer client:

A screencast of the (very!) early version of the MARSIS client is available here:

The MARSIS PlanetServer activity is carried out in cooperation with INAF (Istituto Nazionale di AstroFisica) in Bologna and Rome.