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Bistatic Radar

NSSDCA ID: 1972-031A-12

Mission Name: Apollo 16 Command and Service Module (CSM)
Principal Investigator:Prof. H. Taylor Howard


This experiment, carried on the Apollo 16 mission, utilized the S-band (13-cm) and very high frequency (VHF or 116-cm) transmitters on the Command and Service Module (CSM). The CSM was oriented to direct the transmissions to an area about 10 km in diameter on the lunar surface. The radio signals reflected from the lunar surface were received at the earth in a manner that preserved the frequency, phase, polarization, and amplitude information. Differences between the known characteristics of the transmitted signals and the characteristics of the echoes from the lunar surface were used in conjunction with scattering theory to derive quantitative inferences about the moon. The lunar properties inferred were the dielectric constant, the average slope and slope probability, density, small-scale surface roughness, and embedded rocks to a depth of 20 m.

Alternate Names

  • Apollo16CSM/BistaticRadar
  • S170

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Manned Space Flight (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. A. M. PetersonOther InvestigatorStanford University
Prof. Von R. EshlemanOther InvestigatorStanford
Mr. G. L. TaylerOther InvestigatorStanford University
Prof. H. Taylor HowardPrincipal InvestigatorStanford University

Selected References

  • Howard, H. T., and G. L. Tyler, Bistatic-radar investigation, in Apollo 16, Prelim. Sci. Rept., NASA SP-315, 25-1, Wash., DC, 1972.
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