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Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter: Experiment summary after the first year of global mapping of Mars

Smith, David E. and Muhleman, Duane O. and Ivanov, Anton B. (2001) Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter: Experiment summary after the first year of global mapping of Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 106 (E10). pp. 23689-23722. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2000JE001364.

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The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, has measured the topography, surface roughness, and 1.064-μm reflectivity of Mars and the heights of volatile and dust clouds. This paper discusses the function of the MOLA instrument and the acquisition, processing, and correction of observations to produce global data sets. The altimeter measurements have been converted to both gridded and spherical harmonic models for the topography and shape of Mars that have vertical and radial accuracies of ~1 m with respect to the planet's center of mass. The current global topographic grid has a resolution of 1/64° in latitude × 1/32° in longitude (1 × 2 km^2 at the equator). Reconstruction of the locations of incident laser pulses on the Martian surface appears to be at the 100-m spatial accuracy level and results in 2 orders of magnitude improvement in the global geodetic grid of Mars. Global maps of optical pulse width indicative of 100-m-scale surface roughness and 1.064-μm reflectivity with an accuracy of 5% have also been obtained.

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Additional Information:© 2001 American Geophysical Union. Received 23 August 2000; revised February 23, 2001; accepted 12 March 2001. The MOLA investigation is supported by the NASA Mars Explorations Programs. We recognize significant contributions for R. B. Follas, J. J. Frawley, S. K. Fricke, P. L. Jester, S. Pratt, J. Quigley, J. H. Roark, J. C. Schott, B. Webb, and M. Wong. In addition, we acknowledge the MOLA instrument engineers, the laser engineers at McDonnell-Douglas, and the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft and mission operation teams at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed-Martin Astronautics for their contributions to the success of MOLA. Data and further information about MOLA investigation can be found at
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NASA Mars Exploration ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:E10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111121-090234979
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Official Citation:Smith, D. E., et al. (2001), Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter: Experiment summary after the first year of global mapping of Mars, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 23,689–23,722, doi:10.1029/2000JE001364.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27881
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:21 Nov 2011 18:56
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:52

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