Lunar and Planetary Institute






Apollo 14 Mission


Science Experiments - Bistatic Radar Experiment

The Suprathermal Ion Detector Experiment (large box) and the Cold Cathode Gauge (small box to left of Ion Detector).The Bistatic Radar Experiment was performed on Apollo 14, 15, and 16. In this experiment, radio waves were transmitted from the Command and Service Modules, bounced off the Moon's surface, and recorded at tracking stations in California. The properties of the waves recorded on Earth were analyzed to determine the roughness of the Moon's surface in the region where the radio beam was reflected. In addition, the electrical properties of the lunar surface (specifically, the dielectric constant of the lunar rocks) were also determined. The region analyzed by this method was about 10 kilometers across, and the spot being studied scanned across the Moon's surface as the spacecraft moved in its orbit.