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Lidar Technology at the Goddard Laser and Electro-Optics BranchThe Laser and Electro-Optics Branch at Goddard Space flight Center was established about three years ago to provide a focused center of engineering support and technology development in these disciplines with an emphasis on spaced based instruments for Earth and Space Science. The Branch has approximately 15 engineers and technicians with backgrounds in physics, optics, and electrical engineering. Members of the Branch are currently supporting a number of space based lidar efforts as well as several technology efforts aimed at enabling future missions. The largest effort within the Branch is support of the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESAT) carrying the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument. The ICESAT/GLAS primary science objectives are: 1) To determine the mass balance of the polar ice sheets and their contributions to global sea level change; and 2) To obtain essential data for prediction of future changes in ice volume and sea-level. The secondary science objectives are: 1) To measure cloud heights and the vertical structure of clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere; 2) To map the topography of land surfaces; and 3) To measure roughness, reflectivity, vegetation heights, snow-cover, and sea-ice surface characteristics. Our efforts have concentrated on the GLAS receiver component development, the Laser Reference Sensor for the Stellar Reference System, the GLAS fiber optics subsystems, and the prelaunch calibration facilities. We will report on our efforts in the development of the space qualified interference filter [Allan], etalon filter, photon counting detectors, etalor/laser tracking system, and instrument fiber optics, as well as specification and selection of the star tracker and development of the calibration test bed. We are also engaged in development work on lidar sounders for chemical species. We are developing new lidar technology to enable a new class of miniature lidar instruments that are compatible with small Discovery-class orbiters now in the NASA planetary program. The purpose of the lidar is to continuously profile the water vapor and dust in the Mars atmosphere from orbit in order to quantify its dynamics, their relationship in the diurnal cycles, and to infer water vapor exchange with the Mars surface. To remotely measure the water-vapor height profiles, we will use the differential absorption lidar (DIAL) technique. We are also developing a laser sensor for measuring the total column content of CO2 in the atmosphere of the earth. CO2 is the principal greenhouse gas and has increased by roughly 80 ppm in the last century and a half. We will report our efforts in the development of the laser transmitter and photon counting detector components for a Mars Orbiting DIAL system and for the CO2 sounder.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Heaps, William S.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Obenschain, Arthur F.
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Lasers And Masers
Meeting Information
20th International Laser Radar Conference(Vichy)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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