We propose a strategy to evaluate the performance of a radar sounder for the subsurface exploration of the Europa icy crust and, in particular, the possibility to detect liquid water at the base of the ice shell. The approach integrates the information coming from experimental measurements of the dielectric properties of icymaterials, thermal models related to different crustal scenarios, and numerical simulations of radar signal propagation. The radar response has been evaluated in terms of cumulative attenuation, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and reflectivity. Our simulations indicate that a subsurface radar operating at 9 MHz can identify shallow-buried targets and to detect the ice/water interface in various thermal scenarios. Under our assumptions the ice/water interface can be detected almost down to a depth of 15 km under a conductive ice shell, whereas for a convective ice shell, the maximum depth is about 12 km (in the cold downwelling plume). We also discuss the possibility to detect shallow targets associated with interfaces between pure water ice and MgSO4 center dot 11H(2)O ice mixtures at various salt contents, using the data of laboratory dielectric measurements.

Radar signal penetration and horizons detection on Europa through numerical simulations

Di Paolo F.;Mitri G.;Pettinelli E.
2017

Abstract

We propose a strategy to evaluate the performance of a radar sounder for the subsurface exploration of the Europa icy crust and, in particular, the possibility to detect liquid water at the base of the ice shell. The approach integrates the information coming from experimental measurements of the dielectric properties of icymaterials, thermal models related to different crustal scenarios, and numerical simulations of radar signal propagation. The radar response has been evaluated in terms of cumulative attenuation, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and reflectivity. Our simulations indicate that a subsurface radar operating at 9 MHz can identify shallow-buried targets and to detect the ice/water interface in various thermal scenarios. Under our assumptions the ice/water interface can be detected almost down to a depth of 15 km under a conductive ice shell, whereas for a convective ice shell, the maximum depth is about 12 km (in the cold downwelling plume). We also discuss the possibility to detect shallow targets associated with interfaces between pure water ice and MgSO4 center dot 11H(2)O ice mixtures at various salt contents, using the data of laboratory dielectric measurements.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/713177
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