This answer to When did planetary scientists realize Venus' surface pressure was almost 100x that on Earth? How did they find out? describes one example of scanning the limb of a planet using transmitted radio waves in order to study the atmosphere's properties.

JAXA's Mars Tera-hertz Explorer (TEREX) (1, 2) plans to scan Mars's atmosphere for molecular emissions using a narrow, side-looking receive beam. (In this case there is no transmitter if I understand correctly, it's just recording emissions from the atmosphere)

JAXA's Mars Tera-hertz Explorer TEREX

But that's in the future.

Certainly Earth has had its limb scanned:

Question: Besides Earth and Venus, have any other planets had their limbs scanned with radio signals?


1 Answer 1


The presentation contains a historical background of previous experiments.


О модернизации наземных средств и бортового оборудования, используемых в радиофизических экспериментах перспективных космических проектов. (ФИРЭ им. В.А. Котельникова РАН)

On the modernization of ground-based facilities and on-board equipment used in radiophysical experiments in promising space projects.(Institute of Radio-engineering and Electronics by the Russian Academy of Science)

выполнялось радиопросвечивание оболочек Луны, Марса, Венеры, Солнца, кометы Галлея [We] performed radio scanning of the [atmospheric] envelopes of the Moon, Mars, Venus, the Sun, Halley's comet

Радиопросвечивание ионосферы и атмосферы (традиционная методика экспериментов)

Slide: Radio sensing of the ionosphere and atmosphere (traditional experimental technique) -

The slide contains a list of missions in which experiments on radio scanning of the ionosphere and atmosphere were carried out:

  • 1971 Mars-2

  • 1973 Luna-19

  • 1974 Luna-22




  • 1975 Venera-9


  • 1983 Venera-15


  • 1989 Phobos-2

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