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Microwave Radiometer

NSSDCA ID: 1962-041A-01

Mission Name: Mariner 2
Principal Investigator:Dr. Douglas E. Jones


The microwave radiometer, mounted on the hexagonal base of the spacecraft, was used to obtain data on the radiation from Venus. The instrument consisted of a 50.8 cm diameter parabolic antenna upon which were also mounted two reference horns pointing 60 degrees away from its most sensitive axis. The parabolic antenna collected radiation from the planet and the two horns collected radiation from space. The difference in signal strengths between space and Venus yielded the true magnitude of radiation from the planet. Instrument calibration was performed automatically during flight. Upon Venus encounter, the motor-driven antenna made vertical 120 degree-arc scans at 0.1 degree/s. Lateral scanning was due to the spacecraft trajectory. Measurements were made for the 30 minute period around closest approach to Venus.

Alternate Names

  • Mariner2/MicrowaveRadiometer

Facts in Brief

Mass: 9.94 kg
Power (avg): 4 W


  • Planetary Science: Atmospheres

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. A. Edward LilleyCo-InvestigatorHarvard College Observatory
Prof. Alan H. BarrettCo-InvestigatorMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Douglas E. JonesGeneral ContactBrigham Young University
Dr. Douglas E. JonesPrincipal InvestigatorBrigham Young University

Selected References

  • Barath, F. T., et al., Mariner 2 microwave radiometer experiment and results, Astron. J., 69, 49-58, Feb. 1964.
  • Barath, F. T., et al., Mariner II: Preliminary reports on measurements of Venus: Microwave radiometers, Science, 139, No. 3558, 908-909, doi:10.1126/science.139.3558.908, Mar. 1963.
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