SHARAD (Mars SHAllow RADar sounder) is a subsurface sounding radar embarked on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter probe. It complements the MARSIS instrument on Mars Express, providing lower penetration capabilities (some hundred meters) but much finer resolution (15 metres – untapered – in free space).
SHARAD is developed under the responsibility of the Italian Space Agency (ASI, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana), and provided to JPL for use on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft in the frame of a NASA/ASI agreement which foresees exploitation of the data by a joint Italian/US team. The INFOCOM dept. of the University of Rome “La Sapienza” is responsible for the whole mission.
SHARAD is intended to map the first kilometer below the Mars surface, providing images of subsurface scattering layers with high vertical resolution (15 m), with the intent to locate water/ice deposits and to map the vertical structure of the upper subsurface layers.
The Shallow Subsurface Radar on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was provided by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Its operations are led by the University of Rome and its data is analysed by a joint U.S.-Italian science team, with the cllaboration of INAF staff.
The italian partners of SHARAD are: