RIMFAX – a ground-penetrating radar heading to Mars

How will Nasa find out what is hiding beneath the surface of Mars?

Facts

FFI has created and delivered the radar RIMFAX. It will help NASA explore what hides beneath the surface of Mars.

The ground-penetrating RIMFAX radar is one of the seven scientific instruments that will be on board NASA’s rover "Perceveranse", which will land on Mars in February 2021. The rover’s task is to search for evidence of past life. The radar will analyse the various geological sedimentary strata to determine how best to take samples.

RIMFAX – or Radar Imager for Mars’ subsurface experiment – is a ground-penetrating radar that can “see” into the ground. FFI had originally developed ground-penetrating radars in order for the Armed Forces to be able to see through walls and into the ground, e.g. to identify possible explosives and buried mines.

This type of technology can also be used for archaeological purposes and to research avalanches. On Mars, the space version of RIMFAX will look into the ground and explore the geology several metres below the surface.

Facts

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Facts about NASAs Mars Mission

Launch Window
July 17 - Aug. 5, 2020

Launch Location
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

Landing
Feb. 18, 2021

Landing Site
Jezero Crater, Mars

Mission Duration
At least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days)

Relevant scientific articles

The first prototype of the RIMFAX radar was tested on Svalbard i April and May 2015. Video: FFI.

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