Richard Goldstein (astronomer)

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Richard M. "Dick" Goldstein
BornApril 1927 (1927-04) (age 91)
Alma materPurdue
Known forRadar Interferometry
Scientific career
FieldsRadar Interferometry
Radar Astronomy
InstitutionsJet Propulsion Laboratory

Richard M. "Dick" Goldstein (born April 1927)[citation needed] is an American radar astronomer and planetary scientist, who has been called "The Father of Radar Interferometry."


Richard Goldstein was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He studied Electrical Engineering at Purdue. After working at his family furniture store for eleven years, he followed his brother (astronomer Samuel J. Goldstein, Jr.) to California and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is married to Ruth Goldstein (née Lowenstam).

As a graduate student at Caltech in 1961, Goldstein used the antenna at the Goldstone Tracking Station to obtain the first realtime radar echos from the planet Venus.[1] By 1963, Goldstein and co-author had measured the period and retrograde rotation of Venus.[2] Using his same techniques, he confirmed Soviet experiments that acquired radar echoes from Mercury[3] and he was first to obtain echos from Mars in 1963.[4] In 1968, Goldstein was the first to obtain a radar echo from an asteroid, when he measured the radar cross section of Icarus.[5] Later he also measured the size and rotational period of the nucleus of a comet.[6]

In 1964, Goldstein had analyzed the spectrum of radar echos from Venus to obtain the first images of features on the surface of that planet. Later, using range-Doppler and radar interferometric techniques, he was able to create some of the first maps of the planet.[7] Goldstein was also first to get echos from Ganymede[8] and later other moons of Jupiter.[9] He also detected Saturn’s rings using radar.[10]

Goldstein began work in the mid 1980s on topographical mapping techniques using synthetic aperture radar. Initially using two antennas (and later a single antenna with a repeated track), he was able to use the phase interferometry to improve over stereoscopic optical mapping techniques.[11] Goldstein then developed his revolutionary "crabgrass growing" algorithm for phase unwrapping, which resolves ambiguities in phase data and isolates local noise and errors that would otherwise cause global errors.[12][13] This algorithm simplified the creation of accurate elevation maps,[14] and made possible many new applications for radar interferometry, including satellite detection[15] and quantification of small changes such as land subsidence,[16] ice flow motion,[17] ocean currents,[18] and geological fault shifts.[19] Subsequent work includes algorithms for mitigating thermal noise in the phase data, yielding dramatic improvements in the quality of measurement and phase data.[20]

In the 1990s, Goldstein also worked on applying radar techniques for detecting orbital debris. Previous radar approaches were able to detect orbiting objects as small as 5mm. By using short wavelength pulses and a separate antenna to detect echos, Goldstein was able to improve the detection of objects to less than 2mm at a 600 km altitude.[21] In the process, he discovered that the Earth has rings of debris (some apparently left over from the West Ford Project). He has continued to refine the technique, extending the capabilities to detect 3mm objects as far away as 3200 km.[22]

Goldstein is a regular participant and frequent award-winner in the annual JPL Invention Challenge.[23]


NASA Honors Award, Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal, 2000

Asteroid 5393 named 5393 Goldstein[24]


  1. ^ Goldstein, Richard M (1962). Radar Exploration of Venus (Ph.D.). Caltech.
  2. ^ Goldstein, RM, R. M.; Carpenter, RL (1963). "Rotation of Venus - Period Estimated from RADAR Measurements". Science. 139 (355): 910–1. Bibcode:1963Sci...139..910G. doi:10.1126/science.139.3558.910. PMID 17743054.
  3. ^ Carpenter, Roland; Goldstein, R. M. (1963). "Radar Observations of Mercury". Science. 142 (3590): 381–2. Bibcode:1963Sci...142..381C. doi:10.1126/science.142.3590.381. PMID 17799479.
  4. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Gillmore, Willard F. (1963). "Radar Observations of Mars". Science. 141 (3586): 1171–1172. Bibcode:1963Sci...141.1171G. doi:10.1126/science.141.3586.1171-a. PMID 17751790.
  5. ^ Goldstein, R. M. (1968). "Radar Observations of Icarus". Science. 162 (3856): 903–904. Bibcode:1968Sci...162..903G. doi:10.1126/science.162.3856.903. PMID 17769079.
  6. ^ Goldstein, RM; Jurgens, RF; Sekanina, Z (1984). "A RADAR Study of Comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock 1983D". Astronomical Journal. 89 (11): 1745. Bibcode:1984AJ.....89.1745G. doi:10.1086/113683.
  7. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Rumsey, Howard C. (1972). "A Radar Image of Venus". Icarus. 17 (3): 699–703. Bibcode:1972Icar...17..699G. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(72)90034-6.
  8. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Morris, G. A. (1975). "Ganymede: Observations by Radar". Science. 188 (4194): 1211–1212. Bibcode:1975Sci...188.1211G. doi:10.1126/science.188.4194.1211. PMID 17818164.
  9. ^ Ostro, S. J.; Campbel, D. B.; Simpson, R. A.; Hudson, R. S.; Chandler, J. F.; Rosema, K. D.; Shapiro, I. I.; Standish, E. M.; et al. (1992). "Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto - New RADAR Results from Arecibo and Goldstone". Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. 97 (E11): 18227. Bibcode:1992JGR....9718227O. doi:10.1029/92JE01992.
  10. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Morris, G. A. (1973). "Radar Observations of the rings of Saturn". Icarus. 20 (3): 260. Bibcode:1973Icar...20..260G. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(73)90002-X.
  11. ^ Zebker, H. A.; Goldstein, R. M. (1986). "Topographic Mapping From Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar Observations". Journal of Geophysical Research. 91: 4993–4999. Bibcode:1986JGR....91.4993Z. doi:10.1029/JB091iB05p04993.
  12. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Zebker, H. A.; Werner, C. L. (1988). "Satellite radar interferometry - Two-dimensional phase unwrapping". Radio Science. 23 (4): 713–720. Bibcode:1988RaSc...23..713G. doi:10.1029/RS023i004p00713.
  13. ^ Rosen, P.A.; Hensley, S.; Joughin, I.R.; Li, F.K.; Madsen, S.N.; Rodriguez, E.; Goldstein, R.M. (2000). "Synthetic aperture radar interferometry - Invited paper". Proceedings of the IEEE. 88 (3): 333. doi:10.1109/5.838084.
  14. ^ Zebker, Howard A.; Goldstein, Richard M. (1986). "Topographic Mapping from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture RADAR Observations". Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 91 (B5): 4993. Bibcode:1986JGR....91.4993Z. doi:10.1029/JB091iB05p04993.
  15. ^ Li, F.K.; Goldstein, R.M. (1990). "Studies of Multibaseline Spaceborne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture RADARS". IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. 28 (1): 88. Bibcode:1990ITGRS..28...88L. doi:10.1109/36.45749.
  16. ^ Fielding, Eric J.; Blom, Ronald G.; Goldstein, Richard M. (1998). "Rapid subsidence over oil fields measured by SAR interferometry". Geophysical Research Letters. 25 (17): 3215. Bibcode:1998GeoRL..25.3215F. doi:10.1029/98GL52260.
  17. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Engelhardt, H.; Kamb, B.; Froclich, R. M. (1993). "Satellite RADAR Interferometry for Monitoring Ice-sheet Motion - Application to an Antarctic Ice Stream". Science. 262 (5139): 1525–30. Bibcode:1993Sci...262.1525G. doi:10.1126/science.262.5139.1525. PMID 17829380.
  18. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Zebker, H.A. (1987). "Interferometric RADAR Measurement of Ocean Surface Currents". Nature. 328 (6132): 707. doi:10.1038/328707a0.
  19. ^ Zebker, Howard A.; Rosen, Paul A.; Goldstein, Richard M.; Gabriel, Andrew; Werner, Charles L. (1994). "On the Derivation of Coseismic Displacement-fields using Differential RADAR Interferometry - The Landers Earthquake". Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 99 (B10): 19617. Bibcode:1994JGR....9919617Z. doi:10.1029/94JB01179.
  20. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Werner, C. L. (1998). "Radar interferogram filtering for geophysical applications". Geophysical Research Letters. 25 (21): 4035–4038. Bibcode:1998GeoRL..25.4035G. doi:10.1029/1998GL900033.
  21. ^ Committee on Space Debris, National Research Council (1995). Orbital debris: a technical assessment. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0309051255.
  22. ^ Goldstein, R. M.; Goldstein, S. J.; Kessler, D. J. (1998). "Radar observations of space debris". Planetary and Space Science. 46 (8): 1007–1013. Bibcode:1998P&SS...46.1007G. doi:10.1016/S0032-0633(98)00026-9.
  23. ^ "JPL Annual Invention Challenge". Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  24. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D.; International Astronomical Union (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, Volume 1. Springer Verlag. p. 461. ISBN 9783540002383.

External links[edit]

Butrica, Andrew J. (1996). To See the Unseen, A History of Planetary Radar Astronomy. NASA History Office. ISBN 978-0160485787.