Laboratory Controlled Experiments to Investigate Coherent Backscatter from High Albedo, Atmosphereless Solar System Bodies

Grant #: NNX11AP23G
Senior Scientist: Adrian Brown

We propose to conduct a set of controlled laboratory experiments to investigate the nature of coherent backscattering from high albedo, atmosphereless solar system bodies. We propose to use artificial microparticles of well-known shape, packing, size distribution and optical properties, to test the assertion that coherent backscattering can be used as a diagnostic tool for remotely investigating physical and geophysical characteristics of high albedo atmosphereless solar system bodies. 

Our experimental approach is designed to extend the laboratory measurements of coherent backscatter made so far and carry out measurements with microparticles of known size, size distribution, packing and optical properties. If our work fails to replicate the theoretical predictions of Tishkovets and Mishchenko (2010) then this will be an important data point for those suggesting our theoretical understanding of coherent backscatter is incomplete (Hapke and Nelson, 2010). As such, this project has the potential of significantly enhancing our understanding of the particulate surfaces of Saturn¿s Rings, icy satellites and icy asteroids.