SP-4218 To See the Unseen


- Acknowledgments -


[ii] From Locksley Hall


For I dipt into the future,
far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world,
and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce,
argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight,
dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting,
and there rained a ghastly dew
From the rations' airy navies
grappling in the central blue
Far along the world-wide whisper
of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples
plunging through the thunder-storm;
Till the war-drum throbbed no longer,
and the battle-flags were furled
In the Parliament of man,
the Federation of the world.
There the common sense of most
shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber,
lapt in universal law.
So I triumphed ere my passion
sweeping through me left me dry,
Left me with the palsied heart,
and left me with the jaundiced eye;
Eye, to which all order festers,
all things here are out of joint:
Science moves, but slowly slowly,
creeping on from point to point:

Alfred Baron Tennyson




[iii] Let me begin with a confession and some explanations. Before beginning this project, I knew nothing about planetary radar astronomy. I quickly realized that I was not alone. I discovered, too, that most people confuse radar astronomy and radio astronomy. The usual distinction made between the two is that radar astronomy is an "active" and radio astronomy a "passive" form of investigation. The differentiation goes much deeper, however; they represent two disparate forms of scientific research.

Radio astronomy is more akin to the methods of natural history, in which observation and classification constitute the principal methods of acquiring knowledge. Radio astronomers search the cosmos for signals that they then examine, analyze, and classify. Radar astronomy, on the other hand, is more like a laboratory science. Experimental conditions are controlled; the radar astronomer determines the parameters (such as frequency, time, amplitude, phase, and polarization) of the transmitted signals.

The control of experimental parameters was only one of many aspects of planetary radar astronomy that captivated my interest, and I gradually came to find the subject and its practitioners irresistibly fascinating. I hope I have imparted at least a fraction of that fascination. Without the planetary radar astronomers, writing this book would have been a far less enjoyable task. They were affable, stimulating, cooperative, knowledgeable, and insightful.

The traditional planetary radar chronology begins with the earliest successful attempts to bounce radar signals off the Moon, then proceeds to the detection of Venus. I have deviated from tradition by insisting that the field started in the 1940s and 1950s with the determination by radar that meteors are part of the solar system. Meteor, auroral, solar, lunar, and Earth radar research, as well as radar studies of planetary ionospheres and atmospheres and the cislunar and interplanetary media are specializations in themselves, so were not included in this history of planetary radar astronomy in any comprehensive fashion. What has defined radar astronomy as a scientific activity has changed over time, and the nature of that change is part of the story told here.

This history was researched and written entirely under a contract with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), as a subcontract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This history would not have come into existence without the entrepreneurial energies of JPL's Nicholas A. Renzetti, who promoted the project and found the money to make it happen. It is also to his credit that he found additional support for a research trip to England and for attendance at a conference in Flagstaff, as well as for the transcription of additional interviews. As JPL technical manager, he administered all technical aspects of the contract. I hope this work meets and exceeds his expectations. During my frequent and sometimes extended visits to JPL, Nick provided secretarial, telephone, photocopying and other supplies and services, as well as a professional environment in which to work. I also want to thank the JPL secretarial personnel, especially Dee Worthington, Letty Rivas, and Judy Hoeptner, as well as Penny McDaniel of the JPL Photo Lab, who was so resourceful in finding pictures.

[iv] Teresa L. Alfery, JPL contract negotiator, deserves more than a few words of thanks. Working out the contract details could have been an insufferable experience, were it not for her. Moreover, she continued her cordial and capable performance through several contract modifications.

The contract also came under the purview of the NASA History Office, which provided the author office supplies and services during visits there. More importantly, Chief Historian Roger D. Launius offered encouragement and support in a manner that was both professional and congenial. It was a pleasure to work with Roger. This history owes not inconsequential debt to him and the staff of the History Office, especially Lee Saegesser, archivist, who lent his extensive and unique knowledge of the NASA History Office holdings.

I also want to acknowledge certain individuals who helped along the way. Before this project even began, Joseph N. Tatarewicz afforded it a rich documentary source at the NASA History Office by rescuing the papers of William Brunk, which hold a wealth of information on the Arecibo Observatory and other areas relevant to planetary astronomy at NASA. Joe also was a valuable source of facts and wisdom on the history of the space program and an invaluable guide to the planetary geological community.

This history also owes a debt to Craig B. Waff. His extensive collection of photocopied materials greatly facilitated my research, as did his manuscript histories of the Deep Space Network and Project Galileo. Craig generously offered a place to stay during my first visits to California and was my JPL tour guide.

The staff of the JPL Archives deserves an exceptional word of appreciation. They do not know the word "impossible" and helped facilitate my research in a manner that was always affable and competent. In particular, I want to acknowledge the director, Michael Q. Hooks, for assembling a superb team, John E. Bluth, for his command of the JPL oral history collection and our informative talks about JPL history, and Julie M. Reiz, for her help in expediting access to certain collections.

I also wish to thank those librarians, archivists, historians, and others who expedited my research in, or who provided access to, special documentary collections: Helen Samuels and Elizabeth Andrews, MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections; Mary Murphy, Lincoln Laboratory Library Archives; Ruth Liebowitz, Phillips Laboratory; Richard gingham, Historical Archives, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Ft. Monmouth, NJ; Richard P. Ingalls and Alan E. E. Rogers, NEROC, Haystack Observatory; George Mazuzan, NSF Historian's File, Office of Legislation and Public Affairs, National Science Foundation; Eugene Bartell, administrative director, National Astronomy and ionosphere Center, Cornell University; Jane Holmquist, Astrophysics and Astronomy Library, Princeton University; and August Molnar, president of the American Hungarian Foundation.

In addition, I want to acknowledge those individuals who made available materials in their possession: Julia Bay, Bryan J. Butler, Donald B. Campbell, Von R. Eshleman, Thomas Gold, Paul E. Green, Jr., Raymond F. Jurgens, Sir Bernard Lovell, Steven J. Ostro, Gordon H. Pettengill, Nicholas A. Renzetti, Martin A. Slade, and William B. Smith. Credit also goes to those individuals who reviewed part or all of this manuscript: Louis Brown, Ronald E. Doel, George S. Downs, John V. Evans, Robert Ferris, Richard M. Goldstein, Paul E. Green, Jr., Roger D. Launius, Sir Bernard Lovell, Steven J. Ostro, Gordon H. Pettengill, [v] Robert Price, Alan E. E. Rogers, Irwin 1. Shapiro, Richard A. Simpson, Martin A. Slade, and Joseph N. Tatarewicz.

There are numerous people at NASA involved in the mechanics of publishing who helped in myriad ways in the preparation of this history. J.D. Hunley, of the NASA History Office, edited and critiqued the text before he departed to take over the History Program at the Dryden Flight Research Center; and his replacement, Stephen J. Garber, helped in the final proofing of the work. Nadine Andreassen of the NASA History Office performed editorial and proofreading work on the project; and the staffs of the NASA Headquarters Library, the Scientific and Technical Information Program, and the NASA Document Services Center provided assistance in locating and preparing for publication the documentary materials in this work. The NASA Headquarters Printing and Design Office developed the layout and handled printing. Specifically, we wish to acknowledge the work of Jane E. Penn, Patricia Lutkenhouse Talbert, Kimberly Jenkins, Lillian Gipson end dames Chi for their design and editorial work. In addition, Michael Crnkovic, Craig A. Larsen, and Larry J. Washington saw the book through the publication process.

Finally, I want to recognize the friendship of fellow cat lover Joel Harris, the cordial and entertaining SETI evening spent at the Griffith Observatory with Mike Klein, Judy Hoeptner, and company (without forgetting the Renaissance Festival!), the stimulating conversations with Adrienne Harris, and the friendly folk dancers of Pasadena, as well as the contra dancers of Highland Park and Franklin Park, and Ghislaine, the most important one of all in many ways.