The brightness of surface features on side looking radar images of Venus is determined by many factors: the angles of incidence and reflection, polarization, surface geometry and composition, and so forth. The contribution from surface properties themselves can only be deduced by combining several types of measurement. For instance, without additional information, it is impossible to distinguish the effects of changes in surface roughness from those in dielectric constant. In common with the Moon and Mars, the surface of Venus appears to scatter radar waves in two ways: small-scale surface inhomogeneities, i.e., those smaller than the incident wavelength, depolarize and scatter the energy over a wide range of angles. The Pioneer Venus radar mapper experiment made three overlapping sets of measurements of the equatorial region of Venus from 15 deg S latitude to 45 deg N; the backscatter cross section at a range of incidence angles, the shape and intensity of radar echoes from the nadir, and the microwave brightness temperature of the surface. These techniques developed during the analysis of Pioneer Venus data will be used during the Magellan mission to extract measurements of surface slopes and dielectric constants over all areas covered by the SAR and altimeter antennae, with a resolution of about 10 km. A knowledge of the mechanisms that govern surface scattering will also be useful in the analysis of higher resolution side looking radar images, particularly in distinguishing the effects of changing roughness from those caused by a long range surface tilt or changing dielectric constant.
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Lunar and Planetary Inst., Abstracts for the Venus Geoscience Tutorial and Venus Geologic Mapping Workshop; p 12