Stochastic hyperbola fitting, probabilistic inversion, reverse-time migration and clustering: A novel interpretation toolbox for in-situ planetary radar
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I. Giannakis et al. Stochastic hyperbola fitting, probabilistic inversion, reverse-time migration and clustering: A novel interpretation toolbox for in-situ planetary radar. Icarus 400 (2023) 115555[https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2023.115555]
Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is becoming a mainstream tool in planetary exploration, and one of the few in-situ planetary geophysical methods. There are currently three missions (Perseverance, Tianwen-1, Chang'E-4) with GPR-equipped rovers, and two future missions (Chang'E-7, ExoMars) that will include GPR in their scientific payload. The large number of GPR data, combined with the novel setup of the measurements, creates the need for new data processing and interpretation techniques to address the unique challenges of in-situ planetary radar. The current paper proposes an interpretation pipeline that starts with a novel stochastic hyperbola fitting that estimates the probability kernel density of the bulk permittivity at different depths. Subsequently, the bulk permittivity distribution is transformed via a novel probabilistic inversion to a 1-dimensional (1D) permittivity profile. The inverted 1D permittivity profile is then used as an input to a bespoke reverse-time migration (RTM) using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method. RTM using FDTD does not assume a clinical homogeneous half-space; instead, it accounts for the expected layered structure of the investigated medium. Lastly, the migrated radargram is clustered in order to identify subsurface targets and distinguish them from the background medium. Each of the processing steps has never been reported in planetary radar; and together act as a complete processing toolbox tuned for planetary science. The suggested interpretation pipeline is validated numerically in a 1D case study with a complex layered structure and multiple subsurface targets. The proposed processing scheme is then applied to the GPR data from the Chang'E-4 mission at the Von Karman crater, revealing a previously unseen layered structure and a complex distribution of rocks/boulders.