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Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter


  1. Determination of a Global, Geodetically Referenced 0.2 degree x 0.2 degree Topographic Grid of Mars to a Vertical Accuracy Better than 30 m Suitable for Addressing Problems in Geology, Geophysics and Atmospheric Circulation
  2. Acquisition of Globally Distributed Topographic Profiles of the Martian Surface on Short Baselines (~100 km) with a vertical precision of ~ 2 meters Suitable for Addressing a Range of Problems in Local and Regional Scale Geology
  3. Determination of a Global 0.2 degree x 0.2 degree Grid of 1.06 micron Surface Reflectivity of Mars to a Precision of ~10% Suitable for Contributing to Analysis of Global Surface Mineralogy and Polar Cap Variation


A diode-pumped 1.06 micron Nd:YAG laser transmitter and a 50 cm diameter parabolic receiver provides 160 meter diameter horizontal resolution and 2 meter vertical precision at 10 pulses per second.


Science Team

D. Smith, NASA/GSFC - Principal Investigator



J. Head - Brown U

J. Garvin - NASA/GSFC

D. Muhleman - Caltech

G. Pettengill - MIT

R. Phillips - SMU

S. Solomon - MIT

M. Zuber - NASA/GSFC

H. Zwally - NASA/GSFC