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Initial Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Measurements of the Mars Surface and AtmosphereThe Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has made an initial set of measurements of the Mars surface and atmosphere. As of this writing 27 orbital passes have been completed, starting Sept. 15, 1997 on orbit Pass 3 and orbits 20-36 and beginning again on March 27, 1998 for orbit passes 203 - 212. The lidar is working well in Mars orbit, and its data show contiguous measurement profiles of the Mars surface to its maximum range of 786 km, an average pulse detection rate of > 99% under clear atmospheric conditions, and < 1 m range resolution. MOLA has profiled the shape and heights of a variety of interesting Mars surface features, including Olympus Mons, the flat northern plains of Mars, Valles Marineris and the northern polar ice cap. It has also detected and profiled a series of cloud layers which occur near the edge of the polar cap and near 60-70 deg N latitude. This is the first time clouds around another planet have been measured using lidar.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Abshire, James B.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Sun, Xiaoli
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Baltimore, MD United States)
Afzal, Robert S.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
August 18, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: Nineteenth International Laser Radar Conference
Issue: Part 2
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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