KU student constructs innovative space radar

Lawrence,KS (11-29-2001)

From The Kansan
By J.R. Mendoza

A University of Kansas graduate student has developed a radar system that may aid NASA in determining whether water exists on Mars.

Carl Leuschen, Omaha, Neb., graduate student in electrical engineering, researched and created the radar system that was financed by a three-year NASA fellowship. The radar connects to a 3-meter antenna that takes underground measurements.

The radar, about the size of a shoe box, could fit along with other equipment in a lander that would land on Mars surface, Leuschen said.

Leuschen said the possibility of detecting water and ice on Mars interested him. So with the help of his adviser, Prasad Gogineni, distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science, he developed a proposal to create and test the radar system.

I think what he did was outstanding, Gogineni said. His work will have quite an impact on the analysis of data of Mars.

Leuschen traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska, to test the radar system because the area has frozen soil that might resemble soil on Mars. After gathering data, he returned to Lawrence and discovered the radar worked.

Leuschen said he thought the work paid off.

Its been a really neat experience, he said. I learned a lot.

He said he wasnt sure if NASA would use his radar system.

They make the decision if it is worthwhile to move forward, he said.

Leuschen graduates in December and accepted a staff position at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. He said he would continue working with the radar.

Gogineni said the scientific community recognized Leuschens work.

Its a nice recognition for KU to show KU produces high-quality students, he said. It gives us a high reputation.

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