Subsurface Planetary Investigations with
Radar and AnaLogs (SPIRAL) Lab

PI: Ali Bramson
SPIRAL Lab Logo - circle shape with Mars polar spiral troughs and acronym around edges 

The SPIRAL Lab features a variety of equipment and software for field and experimental analog studies related to surface/subsurface planetary investigations.


  • MALÅ GroundExplorer (Gx) GPR antennas at the following frequencies:
    • 80 MHz
    • 160 MHz
    • 450 MHz
    • 750 MHz
  • GSSI StructureScan MiniXT (2700 MHz) with Palm XT (2300 MHz) ("Baby Radar")
  • DJI Mini 3 Pro drone with DJI RC remote controller
  • Emlid Reach RS3 Multi-band RTK GNSS receivers with tilt compensation
  • Oscilloscope
  • Wave function generator
  • MGS-1 Global Mars Simulant from Exolith Labs
  • Vevor 110V electric ice shaving machine with adjustable ice texture
  • Great Northern IceCub commercial ice shaver
  • 70 gallon transluscent rugged experimental tank (the "ExBox")

Software on Lab Computers:

  • GSSI Radan 7
  • MALA Vision Pro - Online, cloud-based radar processing
  • Geolitix - Online, cloud-based radar processing (educational license)
  • Seisware (3 academic licenses)
  • ENVI
  • Matlab
  • Adobe suite

Relevant Equipment in other labs in EAPS or at Purdue that we use:

  • Agilent E4991A RF Impedance/Material Analyzer (Rock Physics Lab, PI: Doug Schmitt)
  • Walk in -20C freezer (Purdue Stable Isotope (PSI) Lab, PIs: Lisa Welp and Greg Michalski)
  • Cutting edge scientific computing and data storage resources (Purdue's Rosen Center for Advanced Computing (RCAC))


Riley pulling the 80 MHz radar
80 MHz GPR antenna inside the Kentland impact crater in Northwest Indiana.

450 MHz radar collecting data in Utah during an analog astronaut mission
450 MHz GPR antenna collecting soil moisture data in Utah during a Mars analog mission.
Ice shaving machines
Ice shaving machines.
The SPIRAL Lab's ExBox inside the -20C walk-in freezer, with
Riley using "Baby Radar" to take measurements of the ice in the ExBox.

Useful Links for Lab Members (login and access required):