SP-4218 To See the
Jacket Information -
- Dedication -
To my dear friends and former
colleagues at the Center for Research in History of Science and
Technology: Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Christine Blondel, Paulo
Brenni, Yves Cohen, Jean-Marc Drouin, Irina and Dmitry Gouzevitch,
Anna Guagnini, Andreas Kahlow, Stephan Lindner, Michael Osborne, Anne
Rasmussen, Mari Williams, Anna Pusztai, and above all Robert
- Contents -
- The past 50 years have brought forward a
unique capability to conduct research and expand scientific
knowledge of the Solar System through the use of radar to conduct
planetary astronomy. This technology involves the aiming of a
carefully controlled radio signal at a planet (or some other Solar
System target, such as a planetary satellite, asteroid, or a ring
system), detecting its echo, and analyzing the information that
the echo carries.
- This capability has contributed to the
scientific knowledge of the Solar System in two fundamental ways.
Most directly, planetary radars can produce images of target
surfaces otherwise hidden from sight and can furnish other kinds
of information about target surface features. Radar also can
provide highly accurate measurements of a target's rotational and
orbital motions. Such measurements are obviously invaluable for
the navigation of Solar System exploratory spacecraft, a principal
activity of NASA since its inception in 1958.
- Andrew J. Butrica has written a
comprehensive and illuminating history of this little-understood
but surprisingly significant scientific discipline. Quite rigorous
and systematic in its methodology, To See the Unseen explores the
development of the radar astronomy specialty in the larger
community of scientists.
- More than just a discussion of the
development of this field, however, Butrica uses planetary radar
astronomy as a vehicle for understanding larger issues relative to
the planning and execution of "big science" by the Federal
government. His application of the "social construction of
science" and Kuhnian paradigms to planetary radar astronomy is a
most welcome and sophisticated means of making sense of the
field's historical development.
- Andrew J. Butrica received his Ph.D. in
the history of science and technology at Iowa State University. He
is a research historian in Franklin Park, New Jersey, specializing
in the history of science. In 1990 Praeger Publishers issued his
Out of Thin Air: A History of Air
Products and Chemicals, Inc., 1940-1990.
- About the Cover: "Big Dish Antenna,"
painting by Paul Arlt. Courtesy of the NASA Art Program, no.
Chapter One: A Meteoric Start.
Chapter Two: Fickle Venus.
Three: Sturm und Drang.
Chapter Four: Little Science/Big Science.
Chapter Five: Normal Science.
Chapter Six: Pioneering on Venus and Mars.
Eight: The Outer Limits.
Chapter Nine: One Step Beyond.
Conclusion: W(h)ither Planetary Radar Astronomy?.
A Note on
Essay: Planetary Radar
The NASA History