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Sample records for laser altimeter system

  1. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Laser Transmitter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Afzal, R. S.; Dallas, J. L.; Yu, A. W.; Mamakos, W. A.; Lukemire, A.; Schroeder, B.; Malak, A.

    2000-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), scheduled to launch in 2001, is a laser altimeter and lidar for tile Earth Observing System's (EOS) ICESat mission. The laser transmitter requirements, design and qualification test results for this space- based remote sensing instrument are presented.

  2. Geoscience laser altimeter system - stellar reference system

    SciTech Connect

    Millar, Pamela S.; Sirota, J. Marcos

    1998-01-15

    GLAS is an EOS space-based laser altimeter being developed to profile the height of the Earth's ice sheets with {approx}15 cm single shot accuracy from space under NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE). The primary science goal of GLAS is to determine if the ice sheets are increasing or diminishing for climate change modeling. This is achieved by measuring the ice sheet heights over Greenland and Antarctica to 1.5 cm/yr over 100 kmx100 km areas by crossover analysis (Zwally 1994). This measurement performance requires the instrument to determine the pointing of the laser beam to {approx}5 urad (1 arcsecond), 1-sigma, with respect to the inertial reference frame. The GLAS design incorporates a stellar reference system (SRS) to relate the laser beam pointing angle to the star field with this accuracy. This is the first time a spaceborne laser altimeter is measuring pointing to such high accuracy. The design for the stellar reference system combines an attitude determination system (ADS) with a laser reference system (LRS) to meet this requirement. The SRS approach and expected performance are described in this paper.

  3. Laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1972-01-01

    The development of a laser altimeter for use in the Apollo Lunar Orbital Experiments mission is discussed. The altimeter provides precise measurement of an Apollo vehicle above the lunar surface from an orbit of 40 to 80 nautical miles. The technical characteristics of the altimeter are described. Management of the altimeter development program is analyzed.

  4. Laser Transmitter Design for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Afzal, R. S.; Yu, A. W.; Mamakos, W.; Lukemire, A.; Dallas, J. L.; Schroeder, B.; Green, J. W.

    1998-01-01

    NASA is embarking on a new era of laser remote sensing instruments from space. This paper focuses specifically on the laser technology involved in one of the present NASA missions. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) scheduled to launch in 2001 is a laser altimeter and lidar for the Earth Observing System's (EOS) ICESat mission. The laser transmitter for this space-based remote sensing instrument is discussed in the context of the mission requirements.

  5. ICESat laser altimeter measurement time validation system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Magruder, L. A.; Suleman, M. A.; Schutz, B. E.

    2003-11-01

    NASA launched its Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) in January 2003. The primary goal of this laser altimeter mission is to provide determination of volumetric changes in the ice sheets, specifically in Antarctica and Greenland. The instrument performance requirements are driven by the scientific goal of determining a change in elevation on the centimetre level over the course of a year's time. One important aspect of the altimeter data is the time of measurement, or bounce time, associated with each laser shot, as it is an important factor that assists in revealing the temporal changes in the surface (land/ice/sea) characteristics. In order to provide verification that the laser bounce time is accurately being determined, a ground-based detector system has been developed. The ground-based system methodology time-tags the arrival of the transmitted photons on the surface of the Earth with an accuracy of 0.1 ms. The timing software and hardware that will be used in the ground-based system has been developed and extensively tested. One particular test utilized an airborne laser equipped to produce a similar signal to that of ICESat. The overflight of the detectors by the aircraft was successful in that the signals were detected by the electro-optical devices and appropriately time-tagged with the timing hardware/software. There are many calibration and validation activities planned with the intention to help resolve the validity of the ICESat data, but pre-launch analysis suggests the ground-based system will provide the most accurate recovery of timing bias.

  6. Optical system design and integration of the mercury laser altimeter.

    PubMed

    Ramos-Lzquierdo, Luis; Scott, V Stanley; Schmidt, Stephen; Britt, Jamie; Mamakos, William; Trunzo, Raymond; Cavanaugh, John; Miller, Roger

    2005-03-20

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), developed for the 2004 MESSENGER mission to Mercury, is designed to measure the planet's topography by laser ranging. A description of the MLA optical system and its measured optical performance during instrument-level and spacecraft-level integration and testing are presented. PMID:15813279

  7. Optical System Design and Integration of the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Scott, V. Stanley, III; Schmidt, Stephen; Britt, Jamie; Mamakos, William; Trunzo, Raymond; Cavanaugh, John; Miller, Roger

    2005-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA). developed for the 2004 MESSENGER mission to Mercury, is designed to measure the planet's topography via laser ranging. A description of the MLA optical system and its measured optical performance during instrument-level and spacecraft-level integration and testing are presented.

  8. Shuttle Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bufton, Jack L.; Harding, David J.; Garvin, James B.

    1999-01-01

    The Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) is a Hitchhiker experiment that has flown twice; first on STS-72 in January 1996 and then on STS-85 in August 1997. Both missions produced successful laser altimetry and surface lidar data products from approximately 80 hours per mission of SLA data operations. A total of four Shuttle missions are planned for the SLA series. This paper documents SLA mission results and explains SLA pathfinder accomplishments at the mid-point in this series of Hitchhiker missions. The overall objective of the SLA mission series is the transition of the Goddard Space Flight Center airborne laser altimeter and lidar technology to low Earth orbit as a pathfinder for NASA operational space-based laser remote sensing devices. Future laser altimeter sensors will utilize systems and approaches being tested with SLA, including the Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter (MBLA) and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). MBLA is the land and vegetation laser sensor for the NASA Earth System Sciences Pathfinder Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) Mission, and GLAS is the Earth Observing System facility instrument on the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat). The Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter, now well into a multi-year mapping mission at the red planet, is also directly benefiting from SLA data analysis methods, just as SLA benefited from MOLA spare parts and instrument technology experience [5] during SLA construction in the early 1990s.

  9. Laser pointing determination for the geoscience laser altimeter system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Pamela S.; Sirota, J. Marcos

    1998-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is a space-based lidar being developed to monitor changes in the mass balance of the Earth's polar ice sheets (Thomas et al. 1985). GLAS is part of NASA's Earth Observing System (Schutz 1995), and is being designed to launch into a 600 km circular polar orbit in the year 2001, for continuous operation over 3 to 5 years. The orbit's 94 degree inclination has been selected to allow good coverage and profile patterns over the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. The GLAS mission uses a small dedicated spacecraft provided by Ball Aerospace, which is required to have a very stable nadir and zenith pointing platform which points to within approximately 100 urad (20 arcseconds) of Nadir. Accurate knowledge of the laser beam's pointing angle (in the far field) is critical since pointing the laser beam away from nadir biases the altimetry measurements (Gardner 1992, Bufton et al. 1991). This error is a function of the distance of the laser centroid off nadir multiplied by the orbit altitude and the tangent of the slope angle of the terrain. Most of the ice sheet surface slopes are less than 1? resulting in pointing knowledge bias of only 7.6 cm with 7.3 urad accuracy, and overall single shot height accuracy of approximately 15 cm. However, over a 3 deg surface slope pointing knowledge to approximately 7.3 urad is the largest error source (23 cm) in achieving 26 cm height accuracy. The GLAS design incorporates a stellar reference system (SRS) to relate the laser beam pointing angle to the star field to an accuracy of 7.3 urad. The stellar reference system combines an attitude determination system (ADS) operating from 4 to 10 Hz coupled to a 40 Hz laser reference system (LRS) to perform this task.

  10. Lessons Learned from the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garrison, Matt; Patel, Deepak; Bradshaw, Heather; Robinson, Frank; Neuberger, Dave

    2016-01-01

    The ICESat-2 Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) instrument is an upcoming Earth Science mission focusing on the effects of climate change. The flight instrument passed all environmental testing at GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center) and is now ready to be shipped to the spacecraft vendor for integration and testing. This presentation walks through the lessons learned from design, hardware, analysis and testing perspective. ATLAS lessons learned include general thermal design, analysis, hardware, and testing issues as well as lessons specific to laser systems, two-phase thermal control, and optical assemblies with precision alignment requirements.

  11. Atmospheric Measurements by the 2002 Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, James D.; Starr, David OC. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) program is a multiple platform NASA initiative for the study of global change. As part of the EOS project, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) was selected as a laser sensor filling complementary requirements for several earth science disciplines including atmospheric and surface applications. Late in 2002, the GaAs instrument is to be launched for a three to five year observational mission. For the atmosphere, the instrument is designed to full fill comprehensive requirements for profiling of radiatively significant cloud and aerosol. Algorithms have been developed to process the cloud and aerosol data and provide standard data products. After launch there will be a three-month project to analyze and understand the system performance and accuracy of the data products. As an EOS mission, the GaAs measurements and data products will be openly available to all investigators. An overview of the instrument, data products and evaluation plan is given.

  12. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) for the ICESAT Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xia-Li; Ketchum, Eleanor A.; Afzal, Robert S.; Millar, Pamela S.; Smith, David E. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    The Laser In space Technology Experiment, Shuttle Laser Altimeter and the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter have demonstrated accurate measurements of atmospheric backscatter and Surface heights from space. The recent MOLA measurements of the Mars surface have 40 cm vertical resolution and have reduced the global uncertainty in Mars topography from a few km to about 5 m. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is a next generation lidar for Earth orbit being developed as part of NASA's Icesat Mission. The GLAS design combines a 10 cm precision surface lidar with a sensitive dual wavelength cloud and aerosol lidar. GLAS will precisely measure the heights of the Earth's polar ice sheets, establish a grid of accurate height profiles of the Earth's land topography, and profile the vertical backscatter of clouds and aerosols on a global scale. GLAS is being developed to fly on a small dedicated spacecraft in a polar orbit with a 590 630 km altitude at inclination of 94 degrees. GLAS is scheduled to launch in the summer 2001 and to operate continuously for a minimum of 3 years with a goal of 5 years. The primary mission for GLAS is to measure the seasonal and annual changes in the heights of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. GLAS will continuously measure the vertical distance from orbit to the Earth's surface with 1064 nm pulses from a ND:YAG laser at a 40 Hz rate. Each 5 nsec wide laser pulse is used to produce a single range measurement, and the laser spots have 66 m diameter and about 170 m center-center spacings. When over land GLAS will profile the heights of the topography and vegetation. The GLAS receiver uses a 1 m diameter telescope and a Si APD detector. The detector signal is sampled by an all digital receiver which records each surface echo waveform with I nsec resolution and a stored echo record lengths of either 200, 400, or 600 samples. Analysis of the echo waveforms within the instrument permits discrimination between cloud and surface echoes

  13. Atmospheric Measurements by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System: Initial Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, J. D.; Palm, S. P.; Hlavka, D. L.; Hart, W. D.; Mahesh, A.; Welton, E. J.

    2003-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System launched in early 2003 is the first satellite instrument in space to globally observe the distribution of clouds and aerosol through laser remote sensing. The instrument is a basic backscatter lidar that operates at two wavelengths, 532 and 1064 nm. The mission data products for atmospheric observations include the calibrated, observed, attenuated backscatter cross section for cloud and aerosol; height detection for multiple cloud layers; planetary boundary layer height; cirrus and aerosol optical depth and the height distribution of aerosol and cloud scattering cross section profiles. The data is expected to significantly enhance knowledge in several areas of atmospheric science, in particular the distribution, transport and influence of atmospheric aerosol. Measurements of the coverage and height of polar and cirrus cloud should be significantly more accurate than previous global measurement. Initial result from the first several months of operation will be presented.

  14. MESSENGER Laser Altimeter

    NASA Video Gallery

    MESSENGER's Mercury Laser Altimeter sends out laser pulses that hit the ground and return to the instrument. The amount of light that returns for each pulse gives the reflectance at that point on t...

  15. Receiver Design, Performance Analysis, and Evaluation for Space-Borne Laser Altimeters and Space-to-Space Laser Ranging Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1996-01-01

    This progress report consists of two separate reports. The first one describes our work on the use of variable gain amplifiers to increase the receiver dynamic range of space borne laser altimeters such as NASA's Geoscience Laser Altimeter Systems (GLAS). The requirement of the receiver dynamic range was first calculated. A breadboard variable gain amplifier circuit was made and the performance was fully characterized. The circuit will also be tested in flight on board the Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA-02) next year. The second report describes our research on the master clock oscillator frequency calibration for space borne laser altimeter systems using global positioning system (GPS) receivers.

  16. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System: Characteristics and Performance of the Altimeter Receiver

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Yi, Dong-Hui; Abshire, James B.

    2003-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on board ICESat spacecraft measures the surface height (altimetry) via the time of flight of its 1064 nm laser pulse. The GLAS laser transmitter produces 6 ns wide pulses with 70 mJ energy at 1064 nm at a 40 Hz rate. The altimeter receiver consists of a telescope, aft optics, a silicon avalanche photodiode, and electronic amplifiers. The transmitted and echo pulse waveforms are digitized at 1 GHz rate. The laser pulse time of flight is determined on the ground from the two digitized pulse waveforms and their positions in the full waveform record (about 5.4 ms ong) by computing the pulse centroids or by curve fitting. The GLAS receiver algorithms in on board software selects the two waveform segments containing the transmitted and the echo pulses and sends them to ground. The probability of echo pulse detection and the accuracy of time of flight measurement depend on the received signal level, the background light within the receiver field of view, the inherent detector and amplifier noise, the quantization of the digitizer, and some times by cloud obscurations. A receiver model has been developed to calculate the probability of detection and accuracy of the altimeter measurements with these noise sources. From prelaunch testing, the minimum detectable echo pulse energy for 90% detection probability was about 0.1 fj/pulse onto the detector. Such a receiver sensitivity allows GLAS to measure the surface height through clouds with optical density less than 2. The echo pulse energy required to achieve 10 cm ranging accuracy was found to be about 3 times higher than the minimum detectable signal level. The smallest single shot range measurement error, which was determined by ranging to a fixed target with strong echo pulses and no background light, was 2 to 3cm. The maximum linear response echo pulse energy was 10 fJ/pulse for the strongest echo signals, assuming a Lambertian scattering snow surface, clear sky atmosphere

  17. Atmospheric Science Measurements by the EOS Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, James

    1999-01-01

    Scheduled for Launch in July 2001, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is to be the first satellite instrument to provide full global lidar profiling of clouds and aerosol in the earth's atmosphere. GLAS is an EOS program instrument that is on its own satellite, now called the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite. The instrument is both a surface laser ranging system and an atmospheric profiling lidar. A most important surface measurement for the instrument is to study the change in the mass balance of the polar ice sheets by measuring the change in regional altitudes to an accuracy of 1.5 cm per year. The strategy to combine the surface measurement with a Cloud and aerosol lidar profiling mission is based on the compatibility of the altimetry instrument requirements with those for the required lidar measurements. The primary atmospheric science goal of the GLAS cloud and aerosol measurement is to determine the radiative forcing and vertically resolved atmospheric heating rate due to cloud and aerosol by directly observing the vertical structure and magnitude of cloud and aerosol parameters that are important for the radiative balance of the earth-atmosphere system, but which are ambiguous or impossible to obtain from existing or planned passive remote sensors. A further goal is to directly measure the height of atmospheric transition layers (inversions) which are important for dynamics and mixing, the planetary boundary layer and lifting condensation level.

  18. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) for the ICESat Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Ketchum, Eleanor A.; Millar, Pamela S.; Riris, Haris

    2002-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is a new generation lidar and is the primary science payload for NASA's ICESat Mission. The GLAS design combines a 10 cm precision surface lidar with a sensitive dual wavelength cloud and aerosol lidar. GLAS will precisely measure the heights of the Earth's polar ice sheets, establish a grid of accurate height profiles of the Earth's land topography, and profile the vertical distribution of clouds and aerosols on a global scale. GLAS will be integrated onto a small spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace, and will be launched into a polar orbit with a 590-630 km altitude at an inclination of 94 degrees. ICESat is is currently planned to launch in winter 2002/03 and GLAS is designed to operate continuously in space for a minimum of 3 years. GLAS will measure the vertical distance from orbit to the Earth's surface with pulses from a ND:YAG laser at a 40 Hz rate. Each 6 nsec wide 1064 nm laser pulse is used to produce a single range measurement. On the surface, the laser footprints have 66 m diameter and approx. 170 m center-center spacings. The GLAS receiver uses a I m diameter telescope to detect laser backscatter and a Si APD to detect the 1064 nm signals. The detector's output is sampled by a digital ranging receiver, which records each transmitted pulse and surface echo waveform with 1 nsec (15 cm) resolution. Each echo pulse is digitized and is reported to ground with a record length of from 200 to 544 samples, depending on the spacecraft's location . The GLAS location and epoch times are measured by a precision GPS receiver carried on the ICESat spacecraft. Initial processing of the echo waveforms within GLAS permits discrimination between cloud and surface echoes for selecting appropriate waveform samples. This selection is guided by an on-board DEM which is used to set the boundaries for the echo pulse search algorithm. Subsequent ground-based echo pulse analysis, along with GPS-based clock frequency estimates, permit

  19. Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, Maria T.

    1997-01-01

    The objective of this study was to support the rebuild and implementation of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) investigation and to perform scientific analysis of current Mars data relevant to the investigation. The instrument is part of the payload of the NASA Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. The instrument is a rebuild of the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter that was originally flown on the ill-fated Mars Observer mission. The instrument is currently in orbit around Mars and has so far returned remarkable data.

  20. Mars Observer Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, Maria T.

    1997-01-01

    The objective of this study was to support the rebuild and implementation of the Mars Orbiter Laser Aftimeter (MOLA) investigation and to perform scientific analysis of current Mars data relevant to the future investigation. The instrument is part of the payload of the NASA Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. The instrument is a rebuild of the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter that was originally flown on the ill-fated Mars Observer mission.

  1. Optical system design and integration of the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Scott, V Stanley; Connelly, Joseph; Schmidt, Stephen; Mamakos, William; Guzek, Jeffrey; Peters, Carlton; Liiva, Peter; Rodriguez, Michael; Cavanaugh, John; Riris, Haris

    2009-06-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), developed for the 2009 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, is designed to measure the Moon's topography via laser ranging. A description of the LOLA optical system and its measured optical performance during instrument-level and spacecraft-level integration and testing are presented. PMID:19488116

  2. Space-qualified laser system for the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Kallenbach, Reinald; Murphy, Eamonn; Gramkow, Bodo; Rech, Markus; Weidlich, Kai; Leikert, Thomas; Henkelmann, Reiner; Trefzger, Boris; Metz, Bodo; Michaelis, Harald; Lingenauber, Kay; DelTogno, Simone; Behnke, Thomas; Thomas, Nicolas; Piazza, Daniele; Seiferlin, Karsten

    2013-12-20

    The space-qualified design of a miniaturized laser for pulsed operation at a wavelength of 1064 nm and at repetition rates up to 10 Hz is presented. This laser consists of a pair of diode-laser pumped, actively q-switched Nd:YAG rod oscillators hermetically sealed and encapsulated in an environment of dry synthetic air. The system delivers at least 300 million laser pulses with 50 mJ energy and 5 ns pulse width (FWHM). It will be launched in 2017 aboard European Space Agency's Mercury Planetary Orbiter as part of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter, which, after a 6-years cruise, will start recording topographic data from orbital altitudes between 400 and 1500 km above Mercury's surface. PMID:24513938

  3. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1994-01-01

    Accomplishments in the following areas of research are presented: receiver performance study of spaceborne laser altimeters and cloud and aerosol lidars; receiver performance analysis for space-to-space laser ranging systems; and receiver performance study for the Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR).

  4. Cloud and Aerosol Lidar Channel Design and Performance of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on the ICESat Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Abshire, James B.; Krainak, Michael A.; Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steve S.; Lancaster, Redgie S.; Allan, Graham R.

    2004-01-01

    The design of the 532 and 1064nm wavelength atmosphere lidar channels of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on the ICESat spacecraft is described. The lidar channel performance per on orbit measurements data will be presented.

  5. Robust Control for the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rosenberg, Jacob S.

    2006-01-01

    Mercury Laser Altimeter Science Algorithms is a software system for controlling the laser altimeter aboard the Messenger spacecraft, which is to enter into orbit about Mercury in 2011. The software will control the altimeter by dynamically modifying hardware inputs for gain, threshold, channel-disable flags, range-window start location, and range-window width, by using ranging information provided by the spacecraft and noise counts from instrument hardware. In addition, because of severe bandwidth restrictions, the software also selects returns for downlink.

  6. In-Flight Thermal Performance of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grob, Eric; Baker, Charles; McCarthy, Tom

    2003-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument is NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's first application of Loop Heat Pipe technology that provides selectable/stable temperature levels for the lasers and other electronics over a widely varying mission environment. GLAS was successfully launched as the sole science instrument aboard the Ice, Clouds, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) from Vandenberg AFB at 4:45pm PST on January 12, 2003. After SC commissioning, the LHPs started easily and have provided selectable and stable temperatures for the lasers and other electronics. This paper discusses the thermal development background and testing, along with details of early flight thermal performance data.

  7. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) for the ICESAT Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiao-Li; Ketchum, Eleanor A.; Afzal, Robert S.; Millar, Pamela S.

    1999-01-01

    surfaces. For surfaces with 2 deg. slopes, knowledge of pointing angle of the beam centroid to about 8 urad is required to achieve 10 cm height accuracy. GLAS uses a stellar reference system (SRS) to determine the pointing angle of each laser firing relative to inertial space. The SRS uses a high precision star camera oriented toward local zenith whose measurements are combined with a gyroscope to determine the inertial orientation of the SRS optical bench. The far field pattern of each laser pulse is measured with a laser reference system (LRS). Optically measuring each laser far field pattern relative to the star camera and gyroscope permits the angular offsets of each laser pulse to be determined. GLAS will also determine the vertical distributions of clouds and aerosols by measuring atmospheric backscatter profiles at both 1064 and 532 nm. The 1064 nm measurements use an analog detector and profile the height and vertical structure of thicker clouds. Measurements at 532 nm use new highly sensitive photon counting detectors, and measure the height distributions of very thin clouds and aerosol layers. With averaging these can be used to determine the height of the planetary boundary layer. The instrument design and expected performance will be discussed.

  8. Multi-beam laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bufton, Jack L.; Harding, David J.; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis

    1993-01-01

    Laser altimetry provides a high-resolution, high-accuracy method for measurement of the elevation and horizontal variability of Earth-surface topography. The basis of the measurement is the timing of the round-trip propagation of short-duration pulses of laser radiation between a spacecraft and the Earth's surface. Vertical resolution of the altimetry measurement is determined primarily by laser pulsewidth, surface-induced spreading in time of the reflected pulse, and the timing precision of the altimeter electronics. With conventional gain-switched pulses from solid-state lasers and sub-nsec resolution electronics, sub-meter vertical range resolution is possible from orbital attitudes of several hundred kilometers. Horizontal resolution is a function of laser beam footprint size at the surface and the spacing between successive laser pulses. Laser divergence angle and altimeter platform height above the surface determine the laser footprint size at the surface, while laser pulse repetition-rate, laser transmitter beam configuration, and altimeter platform velocity determine the space between successive laser pulses. Multiple laser transitters in a singlaltimeter instrument provide across-track and along-track coverage that can be used to construct a range image of the Earth's surface. Other aspects of the multi-beam laser altimeter are discussed.

  9. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Field, Christopher T.; Sun, Xiaoli

    1996-01-01

    We report here the design and the performance measurements of the breadboard receiver of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). The measured ranging accuracy was better than 2 cm and 10 cm for 5 ns and 30 ns wide received laser pulses under the expected received signal level, which agreed well with the theoretical analysis. The measured receiver sensitivity or the link margin was also consistent with the theory. The effects of the waveform digitizer sample rate and resolution were also measured.

  10. Ranging performance of satellite laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, Chester S.

    1992-01-01

    Topographic mapping of the earth, moon and planets can be accomplished with high resolution and accuracy using satellite laser altimeters. These systems employ nanosecond laser pulses and microradian beam divergences to achieve submeter vertical range resolution from orbital altitudes of several hundred kilometers. Here, we develop detailed expressions for the range and pulse width measurement accuracies and use the results to evaluate the ranging performances of several satellite laser altimeters currently under development by NASA for launch during the next decade. Our analysis includes the effects of the target surface characteristics, spacecraft pointing jitter and waveform digitizer characteristics. The results show that ranging accuracy is critically dependent on the pointing accuracy and stability of the altimeter especially over high relief terrain where surface slopes are large. At typical orbital altitudes of several hundred kilometers, single-shot accuracies of a few centimeters can be achieved only when the pointing jitter is on the order of 10 mu rad or less.

  11. System Accommodation of Propylene Loop Heat Pipes For The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grob, Eric W.; Powers, Edward I. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Loop Heat Pipes (LHP) are used for precise temperature control for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument in a widely varying LEO thermal environment. Two propylene LHPs are utilized to provide separate thermal control for the Nd:YAG Lasers and the remaining avionics/detector components suite. Despite a rigorous engineering development and test plan to demonstrate the performance in the restrictive GLAS design, the flight units failed initial thermal vacuum acceptance testing at GSFC. Subsequent investigation revealed that compromises in the mechanical packaging of these systems resulted in inadequate charge levels for a concentric wick LHP. The redesign effort included larger compensation chambers that provide more fluid to the wick for start-up scenarios and highlighted the need to fully understand the limitations and accommodation requirements of new technologies in a system design application. Once again, seemingly minor departures from heritage configurations and limited resources led to performance and operational issues. This paper provides details into the GLAS LHP engineering development program and acceptance testing of the flight units, including the redesign effort.

  12. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on the ICESat Mission: Science Measurement Performance since Launch

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Abshire, James B.; Riris, Haris; McGarry, Jan; Sirota, Marcos

    2004-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System is the primary space lidar on NASA's ICESat mission. Since launch in January 2003 GLAS has produced about 544 million measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. It has made global measurements of the Earth's icesheets, land topography and atmosphere with unprecedented vertical resolution and accuracy. GLAS was first activated for science measurements in February 2003. Since then its operation and performance has confirmed many pre-launch expectations and exceed a few of the most optimistic expectations in vertical resolution. However GLAS also suffered an unexpected failure of its first laser, and the GLAS measurements have yielded some surprises in other areas. The talk will give a post launch assessment of the science measurement performance of the GLAS instrument, and compare the science measurements and engineering operation to pre-launch expectations. It also will address some of what has been learned from the GLAS operations and data, which may benefit future space lidar.

  13. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on the ICESat Mission: Initial Science Measurement Performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Riris, Haris; Sirota, Marcos; McGarry, J.; Palm, Steve

    2003-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System is the space lidar on the NASA ICESat mission. Its design combines an altimeter with 5 cm precision with a laser pointing angle determination system and a dual wavelength cloud and aerosol lidar. GLAS measures the range to the Earth s surface with 1064 nm laser pulses. Each laser pulse produces a precision pointing measurement from the stellar reference system (SRS) and an echo pulse waveform, which permits range determination and waveform spreading analysis. The single shot ranging accuracy is < 10 cm for ice surfaces with slopes < 2 degrees. GLAS also measures atmospheric backscatter profiles at both 1064 and 532 nm. The 1064 nm measurements use an analog Si APD detector and measure the height and profile the backscatter signal from thicker clouds. The measurements at 532 nm use photon counting detectors, and will measure the vertical height distributions of optically thin clouds and aerosol layers Before launch, the measurement performance of GLAS was evaluated using a lidar test instrument called the Bench Check Equipment (BCE). The BCE was developed in parallel with GLAS and served as an inverse altimeter, inverse lidar and a stellar source simulator. It was used to simulate the range of expected optical inputs to the GLAS receiver by illuminating its telescope with simulated background light as well as laser echoes with known powers, energy levels, widths and delay times. The BCE also allowed monitoring of the transmitted laser energy, the angle measurements of the SRS, the co-alignment of the transmitted laser beam to the receiver line of sight, and performance of the flight science algorithms. Performance was evaluated during the GLAS development, before and after environmental tests, and after delivery to the spacecraft. The ICESat observatory was launched into a 94 degree inclination, 590 km altitude circular polar orbit on January 12,2003. Beginning in early February, GLAS was powered on tested in stages. Its 1064 nm

  14. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Loop Heat Pipes: An Eventual First Year On-Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grob, E.; Baker, C.; McCarthy, T.

    2004-01-01

    Goddard Space Flight Center's Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is the sole scientific instrument on the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) that was launched on January 12, 2003 from Vandenberg AFB. A thermal control architecture based on propylene Loop Heat Pipe technology was developed to provide selectable/stable temperature control for the lasers and other electronics over the widely varying mission environment. Following a nominal LHP and instrument start-up, the mission was interrupted with the failure of the first laser after only 36 days of operation. During the 5-month failure investigation, the two GLAS LHPs and the electronics operated nominally, using heaters as a substitute for the laser heat load. Just prior to resuming the mission, following a seasonal spacecraft yaw maneuver, one of the LHPs deprimed and created a thermal runaway condition that resulted in an emergency shutdown of the GLAS instrument. This paper presents details of the LHP anomaly, the resulting investigation and recovery, along with on-orbit flight data during these critical events.

  15. Mars Observer Laser Altimeter: laser transmitter.

    PubMed

    Afzal, R S

    1994-05-20

    The Mars Observer Laser Altimeter utilizes a space-qualified diode-laser-pumped Q-switched Nd:YAG laser transmitter. A simple numerical model of the laser energetics is presented, which predicts the pulse energy and pulse width. Comparisons with the measured data available are made. The temperature dependence of the laser transmitter is also predicted. This dependence prediction is particularly important in determining the operational temperature range of the transmitter. Knowing the operational temperature range is especially important for a passive, thermally controlled laser operating in space. PMID:20885685

  16. Multishot laser altimeter: design and performance.

    PubMed

    Sun, X; Abshire, J B; Davidson, F M

    1993-08-20

    The maximum measurement range of a laser altimeter can be extended by averaging the measurements from multiple laser shots at the same target. We present the principles of operation and design of such a multishot laser altimeter, which uses a Si avalanche photodiode detector. As an example, the performance of a spaceborne multishot altimeter containing components similar to those of the single-shot Mars Observer Laser Altimeter are given under operating conditions that would be encountered near Saturn. With 100-shot averages, we show that the multishot laser altimeter is capable of accurate ranging at fly-by distances of 10,000 km from an icy satellite. With 100-shot averages, the minimum optical signal level at a 90% correct-measurement probability under nighttime background is 9.8 detected signal photons per pulse as compared with 76 photons per pulse with a single shot. PMID:20830120

  17. Testing of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Prototype Loop Heat Pipe

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Douglas, Donya; Ku, Jentung; Kaya, Tarik

    1998-01-01

    This paper describes the testing of the prototype loop heat pipe (LHP) for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). The primary objective of the test program was to verify the loop's heat transport and temperature control capabilities under conditions pertinent to GLAS applications. Specifically, the LHP had to demonstrate a heat transport capability of 100 W, with the operating temperature maintained within +/-2K while the condenser sink was subjected to a temperature change between 273K and 283K. Test results showed that this loop heat pipe was more than capable of transporting the required heat load and that the operating temperature could be maintained within +/-2K. However, this particular integrated evaporator-compensation chamber design resulted in an exchange of energy between the two that affected the overall operation of the system. One effect was the high temperature the LHP was required to reach before nucleation would begin due to inability to control liquid distribution during ground testing. Another effect was that the loop had a low power start-up limitation of approximately 25 W. These Issues may be a concern for other applications, although it is not expected that they will cause problems for GLAS under micro-gravity conditions.

  18. Optical system design and integration of the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Ramos-Izquierdo, L; Bufton, J L; Hayes, P

    1994-01-20

    The Mars Observer Laser Altimeter, developed for flight on the Mars Observer spacecraft payload in September 1992, is designed to measure the topography of the Martian surface over a 2-year period from a 400-km mapping orbit. A 40 mJ pulse diode-pumped laser together with a 0.5-m-diameter beryllium telescope and a silicon avalanche photodiode are the principal optical subassemblies of this active remote-sensing instrument. Optical design rationale and measured optical performances during assembly and integration are presented. PMID:20862020

  19. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1995-05-01

    Laser altimeters measure the time of flight of the laser pulses to determine the range of the target. The simplest altimeter receiver consists of a photodetector followed by a leading edge detector. A time interval unit (TIU) measures the time from the transmitted laser pulse to the leading edge of the received pulse as it crosses a preset threshold. However, the ranging error of this simple detection scheme depends on the received, pulse amplitude, pulse shape, and the threshold. In practice, the pulse shape and the amplitude are determined by the target target characteristics which has to be assumed unknown prior to the measurement. The ranging error can be improved if one also measures the pulse width and use the average of the leading and trailing edges (half pulse width) as the pulse arrival time. The ranging error becomes independent of the received pulse amplitude and the pulse width as long as the pulse shape is symmetric. The pulse width also gives the slope of the target. The ultimate detection scheme is to digitize the received waveform and calculate the centroid as the pulse arrival time. The centroid detection always gives unbiased measurement even for asymmetric pulses. In this report, we analyze the laser altimeter ranging errors for these three detection schemes using the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter (MOLA) as an example.

  20. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1995-01-01

    Laser altimeters measure the time of flight of the laser pulses to determine the range of the target. The simplest altimeter receiver consists of a photodetector followed by a leading edge detector. A time interval unit (TIU) measures the time from the transmitted laser pulse to the leading edge of the received pulse as it crosses a preset threshold. However, the ranging error of this simple detection scheme depends on the received, pulse amplitude, pulse shape, and the threshold. In practice, the pulse shape and the amplitude are determined by the target target characteristics which has to be assumed unknown prior to the measurement. The ranging error can be improved if one also measures the pulse width and use the average of the leading and trailing edges (half pulse width) as the pulse arrival time. The ranging error becomes independent of the received pulse amplitude and the pulse width as long as the pulse shape is symmetric. The pulse width also gives the slope of the target. The ultimate detection scheme is to digitize the received waveform and calculate the centroid as the pulse arrival time. The centroid detection always gives unbiased measurement even for asymmetric pulses. In this report, we analyze the laser altimeter ranging errors for these three detection schemes using the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter (MOLA) as an example.

  1. Global Lidar Measurements of Clouds and Aerosols from Space Using the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hlavka, Dennis L.; Palm, S. P.; Welton, E. J.; Hart, W. D.; Spinhirne, J. D.; McGill, M.; Mahesh, A.; Starr, David OC. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is scheduled for launch on the ICESat satellite as part of the NASA EOS mission in 2002. GLAS will be used to perform high resolution surface altimetry and will also provide a continuously operating atmospheric lidar to profile clouds, aerosols, and the planetary boundary layer with horizontal and vertical resolution of 175 and 76.8 m, respectively. GLAS is the first active satellite atmospheric profiler to provide global coverage. Data products include direct measurements of the heights of aerosol and cloud layers, and the optical depth of transmissive layers. In this poster we provide an overview of the GLAS atmospheric data products, present a simulated GLAS data set, and show results from the simulated data set using the GLAS data processing algorithm. Optical results from the ER-2 Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL), which uses many of the same processing algorithms as GLAS, show algorithm performance with real atmospheric conditions during the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000).

  2. Cloud Algorithm Design and Performance for the 2002 Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, J. D.; Palm, S. P.; Hart, W. D.; Hlavka, D. L.; Mahesh, A.; Starr, David (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    A satellite borne lidar instrument, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), is to be launched in late 2002 and will provide continuous profiling of atmospheric clouds and aerosol on a global basis. Data processing algorithms have been developed to provide operational data products in near real time. Basic data products for cloud observations are the height of the top and bottom of single to multiple cloud layers and the lidar calibrated observed backscatter cross section up to the level of signal attenuation. In addition the optical depth and vertical profile of visible extinction cross section of many transmissive cloud layers and most haze layers are to be derived. The optical thickness is derivable in some cases from the attenuation of the molecular scattering below cloud base. In other cases an assumption of the scattering phase function is required. In both cases a estimated correction for multiple scattering is required. The data processing algorithms have been tested in part from aircraft measurements used to simulated satellite data. The GLAS lidar observations will be made from an orbit that will allow inter comparison with all other existing satellite cloud measurements.

  3. Space Borne Cloud and Aerosol Measurements by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System: Initial Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steven P.; Hlavka, Dennis L.; Hart, William D.; Mahesh, Ashwin; Welton, Ellsworth J.

    2003-01-01

    In January 2003 the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) was successfully launched into orbit. Beginning in March 2003 GLAS will provide global coverage lidar measurement of the height distribution of clouds and aerosol in the atmosphere for up to five years. The characteristic and value of the unique data will be presented. The instrument is a basic backscatter lidar that operates at two wavelengths, 532 and 1064 nm. The mission data products for atmospheric observations include the calibrated, observed, attenuated backscatter cross section for cloud and aerosol; height detection for multiple cloud layers; planetary boundary layer height; cirrus and aerosol optical depth and the height distribution of aerosol and cloud scattering cross section profiles. The data is expected to significantly enhance knowledge in several areas of atmospheric science, in particular the distribution, transport and influence of atmospheric aerosol and thin clouds. Measurements of the coverage and height of polar and cirrus cloud should be significantly more accurate than previous global observations. In March and April 2003, airborne and ground based data verification experiments will be carried out. Initial results from the verification experiments and the first several months of operation will be presented.

  4. Initial Validation and Results of Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Optical Properties Retrievals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hlavka, Dennis L.; Hart, W. D.; Pal, S. P.; McGill, M.; Spinhirne, J. D.

    2004-01-01

    Verification of Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) optical retrievals is . problematic in that passage over ground sites is both instantaneous and sparse plus space-borne passive sensors such as MODIS are too frequently out of sync with the GLAS position. In October 2003, the GLAS Validation Experiment was executed from NASA Dryden Research Center, California to greatly increase validation possibilities. The high-altitude NASA ER-2 aircraft and onboard instrumentation of Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL), MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS), and/or MODIS/ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER) under-flew seven orbit tracks of GLAS for cirrus, smoke, and urban pollution optical properties inter-comparisons. These highly calibrated suite of instruments are the best data set yet to validate GLAS atmospheric parameters. In this presentation, we will focus on the inter-comparison with GLAS and CPL and draw preliminary conclusions about the accuracies of the GLAS 532nm retrievals of optical depth, extinction, backscatter cross section, and calculated extinction-to-backscatter ratio. Comparisons to an AERONET/MPL ground-based site at Monterey, California will be attempted. Examples of GLAS operational optical data products will be shown.

  5. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1994-01-01

    This interim report consists of two reports: 'Space Radiation Effects on Si APDs for GLAS' and 'Computer Simulation of Avalanche Photodiode and Preamplifier Output for Laser Altimeters.' The former contains a detailed description of our proton radiation test of Si APD's performed at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The latter documents the computer program subroutines which were written for the upgrade of NASA's GLAS simulator.

  6. Atmospheric and Surface Reflectance Measurements by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steven P.; Hlavka, Dennis L.; Hart, William D.; Mehesh, Ashwin; Welton, Ellsworth J.

    2004-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System launched in early 2003 is the first satellite instrument IC space to globally observe the distribution of clouds and aerosol through laser remote sensing. The instrument is a basic backscatter lidar that operates at two wavelengths, 532 and 1064 nm. The mission data products for atmospheric observations include the calibrated, observed, attenuated backscatter cross section for cloud and aerosol; height detection for multiple cloud layers; planetary boundary layer height; cirrus and aerosol optical depth and the height distribution of aerosol and cloud scattering cross section profiles. The data will enhance knowledge in several areas of atmospheric science: the distribution, transport and influence of atmospheric aerosol, significantly more accurate measurements of the coverage and height of cirrus and other clouds, polar cloud climatology and radiation influence, the dynamics planetary boundary layer and others. An overview and summary of initial results are presented. Initial results from the first months of operation show the detailed height structure of clouds and aerosol on a global basis as expected. The 532 nm channel was expected to be the more sensitive and primary channel for aerosol measurements, but extensive aerosol loading in many regions are observed by the 1064 nm channel. Sensitivities are down to a few times l0(exp 6) l/(m-sr), much better than originally expected. The 532 channel adds an order of magnitude addition sensitivity. Initial comparisons to aerosol models have been done. Similarly for global cloud cover, good results are obtained just from the 1064 nm channel and from both channels, a measurement of multiple layers and cloud overlap has been made. Antarctica observations show high levels of total cloud cover including unique low-level cirrus and blowing snow. Data products have been generated for cloud, aerosol and PBL presence and heights in addition to the basic scattering cross section profiles.

  7. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument: Flight Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) Acceptance Thermal Vacuum Test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, Charles; Butler, Dan; Ku, Jentung; Grob, Eric; Swanson, Ted; Nikitkin, Michael; Powers, Edward I. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Two loop heat pipes (LHPs) are to be used for tight thermal control of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument, planned for flight in late 2001. The LHPs are charged with Propylene as a working fluid. One LHP will be used to transport 110 W from a laser to a radiator, the other will transport 160 W from electronic boxes to a separate radiator. The application includes a large amount of thermal mass in each LHP system and low initial startup powers. The initial design had some non-ideal flight design compromises, resulted in a less than ideal charge level for this design concept with a symmetrical secondary wick. This less than ideal charge was identified as the source of inadequate performance of the flight LHPs during the flight thermal vacuum test in October of 2000. We modified the compensation chamber design, re-built and charged the LHPs for a final LHP acceptance thermal vacuum test. This test performed March of 2001 was 100% successful. This is the last testing to be performed on the LHPs prior to instrument thermal vacuum test. This sensitivity to charge level was shown through varying the charge on a Development Model Loop Heat Pipe (DM LHP) and evaluating performance at various fill levels. At lower fills similar to the original charge in the flight units, the same poor performance was observed. When the flight units were re-designed and filled to the levels similar to the initial successful DM LHP test, the flight units also successfully fulfilled all requirements. This final flight Acceptance test assessed performance with respect to startup, low power operation, conductance, and control heater power, and steady state control. The results of the testing showed that both LHPs operated within specification. Startup on one of the LHPs was better than the other LHP because of the starter heater placement and a difference in evaporator design. These differences resulted in a variation in the achieved superheat prior to startup. The LHP with

  8. Multibeam Laser Altimeter for Planetary Topographic Mapping

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Bufton, J. L.; Harding, D. J.

    1993-01-01

    Laser altimetry provides an active, high-resolution, high-accuracy method for measurement of planetary and asteroid surface topography. The basis of the measurement is the timing of the roundtrip propagation of short-duration pulses of laser radiation between a spacecraft and the surface. Vertical, or elevation, resolution of the altimetry measurement is determined primarily by laser pulse width, surface-induced spreading in time of the reflected pulse, and the timing precision of the altimeter electronics. With conventional gain-switched pulses from solid-state lasers and nanosecond resolution timing electronics, submeter vertical range resolution is possible anywhere from orbital altitudes of approximately 1 km to altitudes of several hundred kilometers. Horizontal resolution is a function of laser beam footprint size at the surface and the spacing between successive laser pulses. Laser divergence angle and altimeter platform height above the surface determine the laser footprint size at the surface, while laser pulse repetition rate, laser transmitter beam configuration, and altimeter platform velocity determine the spacing between successive laser pulses. Multiple laser transmitters in a single laser altimeter instrument that is orbiting above a planetary or asteroid surface could provide across-track as well as along-track coverage that can be used to construct a range image (i.e., topographic map) of the surface. We are developing a pushbroom laser altimeter instrument concept that utilizes a linear array of laser transmitters to provide contiguous across-track and along-track data. The laser technology is based on the emerging monolithic combination of individual, 1-sq cm diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser pulse emitters. Details of the multi-emitter laser transmitter technology, the instrument configuration, and performance calculations for a realistic Discovery-class mission will be presented.

  9. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Final Test Report of DM LHP TV Testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, Charles

    2000-01-01

    Two loop heat pipes (LHPs) are to be used for thermal control of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), planned for flight in 2001. One LHP will be used to transport 100 W from a laser to the radiator, the other will transport 210 W from electronic boxes to the radiator. In order to verify the LHP design for the GLAS application, an LHP Development Model has been fabricated, and ambient and thermal vacuum tested. Two aluminum blocks of 15 kg and 30 kg, respectively, were attached to the LHP to simulate the thermal masses connected to the heat sources. A 20 W starter heater was installed on the evaporator to aid the loop startup. A new concept to thermally couple the vapor and liquid line was also incorporated in the LHP design. Such a thermal coupling would reduce the power requirement on the compensation chamber in order to maintain the loop set point temperature. To avoid freezing of the liquid in the condenser during cold cases, propylene was selected as the working fluid. The LHP was tested under reflux mode and with adverse elevation. Tests conducted included start-up, power cycle, steady state and transient operation during hot and cold cases, and heater power requirements for the set point temperature control of the LHP. Test results showed very successful operation of the LHP under all conditions. The 20 W starter heater proved necessary in order to start the loop when a large thermal mass was attached to the evaporator. The thermal coupling between the liquid line and the vapor line significantly reduced the heater power required for loop temperature control, which was less than 5 watts in all cases, including a cold radiator. The test also demonstrated successful operation with a propylene working fluid, with successful startups with condenser temperatures as low as 100 C. Furthermore, the test demonstrated accurate control of the loop operating temperature within +/- 0.2 C, and a successful shutdown of the loop during the survival mode of

  10. Design and Performance Measurement of the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Cavanaugh, John F.; Smith, James C.; Bartels, Arlin E.

    2004-01-01

    We report the design and test results of the Mercury Laser Altimeter on MESSENGER mission to be launched in May 2004. The altimeter will provide planet surface topography measurements via laser pulse time of flight.

  11. Comparison of retracking algorithms using airborne radar and laser altimeter measurements of the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferraro, Ellen J.; Swift, Calvin T.

    1995-05-01

    In 1991, NASA conducted a multisensor airborne altimetry experiment over the Greenland ice sheet. The experiment consisted of ten flights. Four types of radar altimeter retracking algorithms which include the Advanced Application Flight Experiment (AAFE) Ku-band altimeter, the NASA Airborne Oceanographic Lidar (AOL), the NASA Airborne Terrain Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) and the NASA Ka-band Surface Contour Radar (SCR) were used. In this paper, these four continental ice sheet radar altimeter tracking algorithms were compared.

  12. On Orbit Receiver Performance Assessment of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on ICESAT

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Abshire, James B.; Spinhirne, James D.; McGarry, Jan; Jester, Peggy L.; Yi, Donghui; Palm, Stephen P.; Lancaster, Redgie S.

    2006-01-01

    The GLAS instrument on the NASA's ICESat mission has provided over a billion measurements of the Earth surface elevation and atmosphere backscattering at both 532 and 1064-nm wavelengths. The receiver performance has stayed nearly unchanged since ICESat launch in January 2003. The altimeter receiver has achieved a less than 3-cm ranging accuracy when excluding the effects of the laser beam pointing angle determination uncertainties. The receiver can also detect surface echoes through clouds of one-way transmission as low as 5%. The 532-nm atmosphere backscattering receiver can measure aerosol and clouds with cross section as low as 1e-7/m.sr with a 1 second integration time and molecular backscattering from upper atmosphere with a 60 second integration time. The 1064-nm atmosphere backscattering receiver can measure aerosol and clouds with a cross section as low as 4e-6/m.sr. This paper gives a detailed assessment of the GLAS receiver performance based on the in-orbit calibration tests.

  13. Ranging performance of satellite laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, Chester S.

    1992-01-01

    Detailed expressions for the range and pulse width measurement accuracies are developed and used to evaluate the ranging performances of several satellite laser altimeters currently under development by NASA for launch during the next decade. The analysis includes the effects of the target surface characteristics, spacecraft pointing jitter, and waveform digitizer characteristics. The results show that ranging accuracy is critically dependent on the pointing accuracy and stability of the altimeter especially over high relief terrain where surface slopes are large. At typical orbital altitudes of several hundred kilometers, single-shot accuracies of a few centimeters can be achieved only when the pointing jitter is on the order of 10 microrad or less.

  14. Scientific Measurements of Hayabusa-2 Laser Altimeter (LIDAR)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noda, H.; Mizuno, T.; Namiki, N.; Senshu, H.; Yamada, R.; Hirata, N.; Lidar-Science Team

    2015-01-01

    As a successor of Japanese Hayabusa Asteroid mission, Hayabusa-2 is scheduled to be launched in winter 2014. The Laser Altimeter called LIDAR will contribute not only to the satellite bus system but also to the science of the target asteroid.

  15. Sidelooking laser altimeter for a flight simulator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Webster, L. D. (Inventor)

    1983-01-01

    An improved laser altimeter for a flight simulator which allows measurement of the height of the simulator probe above the terrain directly below the probe tip is described. A laser beam is directed from the probe at an angle theta to the horizontal to produce a beam spot on the terrain. The angle theta that the laser beam makes with the horizontal is varied so as to bring the beam spot into coincidence with a plumb line coaxial with the longitudinal axis of the probe. A television altimeter camera observes the beam spot and has a raster line aligned with the plumb line. Spot detector circuit coupled to the output of the TV camera monitors the position of the beam spot relative to the plumb line.

  16. Retrievals of Thick Cloud Optical Depth from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) by Calibration of Solar Background Signal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yang, Yuekui; Marshak, Alexander; Chiu, J. Christine; Wiscombe, Warren J.; Palm, Stephen P.; Davis, Anthony B.; Spangenberg, Douglas A.; Nguyen, Louis; Spinhirne, James D.; Minnis, Patrick

    2008-01-01

    Laser beams emitted from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), as well as other space-borne laser instruments, can only penetrate clouds to a limit of a few optical depths. As a result, only optical depths of thinner clouds (< about 3 for GLAS) are retrieved from the reflected lidar signal. This paper presents a comprehensive study of possible retrievals of optical depth of thick clouds using solar background light and treating GLAS as a solar radiometer. To do so we first calibrate the reflected solar radiation received by the photon-counting detectors of GLAS' 532 nm channel, which is the primary channel for atmospheric products. The solar background radiation is regarded as a noise to be subtracted in the retrieval process of the lidar products. However, once calibrated, it becomes a signal that can be used in studying the properties of optically thick clouds. In this paper, three calibration methods are presented: (I) calibration with coincident airborne and GLAS observations; (2) calibration with coincident Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) and GLAS observations of deep convective clouds; (3) calibration from the first principles using optical depth of thin water clouds over ocean retrieved by GLAS active remote sensing. Results from the three methods agree well with each other. Cloud optical depth (COD) is retrieved from the calibrated solar background signal using a one-channel retrieval. Comparison with COD retrieved from GOES during GLAS overpasses shows that the average difference between the two retrievals is 24%. As an example, the COD values retrieved from GLAS solar background are illustrated for a marine stratocumulus cloud field that is too thick to be penetrated by the GLAS laser. Based on this study, optical depths for thick clouds will be provided as a supplementary product to the existing operational GLAS cloud products in future GLAS data releases.

  17. Diode-pumped laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welford, D.; Isyanova, Y.

    1993-01-01

    TEM(sub 00)-mode output energies up to 22.5 mJ with 23 percent slope efficiencies were generated at 1.064 microns in a diode-laser pumped Nd:YAG laser using a transverse-pumping geometry. 1.32-micron performance was equally impressive at 10.2 mJ output energy with 15 percent slope efficiency. The same pumping geometry was successfully carried forward to several complex Q-switched laser resonator designs with no noticeable degradation of beam quality. Output beam profiles were consistently shown to have greater than 90 percent correlation with the ideal TEM(sub 00)-order Gaussian profile. A comparison study on pulse-reflection-mode (PRM), pulse-transmission-mode (PTM), and passive Q-switching techniques was undertaken. The PRM Q-switched laser generated 8.3 mJ pulses with durations as short as 10 ns. The PTM Q-switch laser generated 5 mJ pulses with durations as short as 5 ns. The passively Q-switched laser generated 5 mJ pulses with durations as short as 2.4 ns. Frequency doubling of both 1.064 microns and 1.32 microns with conversion efficiencies of 56 percent in lithium triborate and 10 percent in rubidium titanyl arsenate, respectively, was shown. Sum-frequency generation of the 1.064 microns and 1.32 microns radiations was demonstrated in KTP to generate 1.1 mJ of 0.589 micron output with 11.5 percent conversion efficiency.

  18. Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS): Final Test Report of DM LHP TV Testing. Revised

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, Charles

    2000-01-01

    The Demonstration Model (DM) Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) was tested at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) during September and October, 1999. The LHP system was placed in the Dynavac 36 in. chamber in Building 4. The test lasted for about 6 weeks. The LHP was built, designed, and manufactured at Dynatherm Corporation, Inc. In Hunt Valley, MD according to GSFC specifications. The purpose of the test was to evaluate the performance of a propylene LHP for the Geoscience Laser Altimetry System (GLAS) instrument application.

  19. Receiver design, performance analysis, and evaluation for space-borne laser altimeters and space-to-space laser ranging systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davidson, Frederic M.; Sun, Xiaoli; Field, Christopher T.

    1995-01-01

    This Interim report consists of a manuscript, 'Receiver Design for Satellite to Satellite Laser Ranging Instrument,' and copies of two papers we co-authored, 'Demonstration of High Sensitivity Laser Ranging System' and 'Semiconductor Laser-Based Ranging Instrument for Earth Gravity Measurements. ' These two papers were presented at the conference Semiconductor Lasers, Advanced Devices and Applications, August 21 -23, 1995, Keystone Colorado. The manuscript is a draft in the preparation for publication, which summarizes the theory we developed on space-borne laser ranging instrument for gravity measurements.

  20. Observations of Dust Using the NASA Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS): New New Measurements of Aerosol Vertical Distribution From Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welton, Ellsworth; Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steven P.; Hlavka, Dennis; Hart, William

    2003-01-01

    On January 12, 2003 NASA launched the first satellite-based lidar, the Geoscience Laser -Altimeter System (GLAS), onboard the ICESat spacecraft. The GLAS atmospheric measurements introduce a fundamentally new and important tool for understanding the atmosphere and climate. In the past, aerosols have only been studied from space using images gathered by passive sensors. Analysis of this passive data has lead to an improved understanding of aerosol properties, spatial distribution, and their effect on the earth's climate. However, these images do not show the aerosol's vertical distribution. As a result, a key piece of information has been missing. The measurements now obtained by GLAS will provide information on the vertical distribution of aerosols and clouds, and improve our ability to study their transport processes and aerosol-cloud interactions. Here we show an overview of GLAS, provide an update of its current status, and present initial observations of dust profiles. In particular, a strategy of characterizing the height profile of dust plumes over source regions will be presented.

  1. Simulation of Full-Waveform Laser Altimeter Echowaveform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lv, Y.; Tong, X. H.; Liu, S. J.; Xie, H.; Luan, K. F.; Liu, J.

    2016-06-01

    Change of globe surface height is an important factor to study human living environment. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on ICESat is the first laser-ranging instrument for continuous global observations of the Earth. In order to have a comprehensive understanding of full-waveform laser altimeter, this study simulated the operating mode of ICESat and modeled different terrains' (platform terrain, slope terrain, and artificial terrain) echo waveforms based on the radar equation. By changing the characteristics of the system and the targets, numerical echo waveforms can be achieved. Hereafter, we mainly discussed the factors affecting the amplitude and size (width) of the echoes. The experimental results implied that the slope of the terrain, backscattering coefficient and reflectivity, target height, target position in the footprint and area reacted with the pulse all can affect the energy distribution of the echo waveform and the receiving time. Finally, Gaussian decomposition is utilized to decompose the echo waveform. From the experiment, it can be noted that the factors which can affect the echo waveform and by this way we can know more about large footprint full-waveform satellite laser altimeter.

  2. Recent Data Campaigns and Results from the Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS): An Airborne, Medium-Footprint, Full-Waveform, Swath Mapping Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blair, J. B.; Hofton, M. A.; Rabine, D. L.; Luthcke, S. B.; Greim, H.

    2005-12-01

    The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne, medium-sized footprint laser altimeter system. By digitally recording the shape of the returning laser pulse (waveform), LVIS provides a precise and accurate view of the vertical structure within each footprint/pixel including both the sub-canopy and canopy-top topography. Applications of LVIS data include biomass estimation for a wide variety of forest types, ground surface change detection for tectonic studies, mapping sea surface topography to assist in coastal hazard assessment, and hydrology studies utilizing sub-canopy topography in densely forested regions. Since 1998, LVIS data have been collected in various areas of New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Panama and Costa Rica. The data calibration and geolocation processing system utilizes a formal Bayesian least-squares-estimation of pointing, ranging and timing parameters based on a batch reduction of altimeter range residuals. Data are released publicly on the LVIS website at http://lvis.gsfc.nasa.gov. Results show data precisions of <50 cm are routinely achieved in all forest types and <5 cm in bare ground conditions. Because of its unique capability to simultaneously map vegetation and sub-canopy ground topography, LVIS data can be used to assess the accuracy of other remote sensing systems. For example, ground and canopy top elevations generated by LVIS were used to assess the accuracy of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) elevations at study sites with different levels of relief and land cover type. Results showed that the mean vertical offset between the SRTM elevations and LVIS ground elevations varied with landcover type and study site location. Comparisons between LVIS and ICESat will also be presented.

  3. Mapping Mars with a Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.

    2001-01-01

    In November 1996 the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft was launched to Mars. One of the instruments on the spacecraft was a laser altimeter, MOLA, for measuring the shape and topography of the planet. The altimeter has a diode pumped Q-switched ND:YAG laser at 1064nm, operating at 10Hz with an 8 nsec pulse width. The pulse energy is 48mJ, and the instrument has a 37cm ranging precision. The laser illuminates a spot on the surface of Mars approximately 160 meters in diameter and the instrument has accumulated over 600 million range measurements of the surface since arrival at Mars in September 1997. MOLA has operated continuously for over 2 years and has mapped the planet at a horizontal resolution of about 1 km and a radial accuracy of about a meter. MOLA has measured the shape of the planet, the heights of the volcanoes, the depths of the canyons, and the volumes of the polar icecaps. It has detected carbon dioxide clouds and measured the accumulation of seasonal CO2 on the polar icecaps. This new remote sensing tool has helped transform our understanding of Mars and its geological history, and opened a new door to planetary exploration.

  4. Receiver characteristics of laser altimeters with avalanche photodiodes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Davidson, Frederic M.; Boutsikaris, Leo; Abshire, James B.

    1992-01-01

    The receiver characteristics of a laser altimeter system containing an avalanche photodiode photodetector are analyzed using the Gaussian approximation, the saddle-point approximation, and a nearly exact analysis. The last two methods are shown to yield very similar results except when the background noise is extremely low and the probability of false alarm is high. However, the Gaussian approximation method is shown to cause significant errors even under relatively high levels of background noise and received signal energy.

  5. Multicolor laser altimeter for barometric measurements over the ocean - Experimental

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, J. B.; Kalshoven, J. E., Jr.

    1983-01-01

    Measurement theory and results from testing a breadboard multiwavelength (355-, 532- and 1064-nm) laser altimeter over horizontal paths are presented. They show that pressure accuracies of 3 mbar can be achieved when ranging at nadir to cube corner targets when using a 500-psec resolution waveform digitizer and utilizing new calibration techniques. Streak camera-based receivers will be required for the same or higher accuracies when ranging to the ocean surface. System design calculations for aircraft and spaceborne experiments are presented.

  6. Remote sensing of sea state by laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsai, B.; Gardner, C. S.

    1981-01-01

    The reflection of short laser pulses from the ocean surface was analyzed based on the specular point theory of scattering. The expressions for the averaged received signal, shot noise and speckle induced noise were derived for a direct detection system. It is found that the reflected laser pulses have an average shape closely related to the probability density function associated with the surface profile. This result is applied to estimate the mean sea level and significant wave height from the receiver output of the laser altimeter.

  7. In Orbit Performance of Si Avalanche Photodiode Single Photon Counting Modules in the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on ICESat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, X.; Jester, P. L.; Palm, S. P.; Abshire, J. B.; Spinhime, J. D.; Krainak, M. A.

    2006-01-01

    Si avalanche photodiode (APD) single photon counting modules (SPCMs) are used in the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on Ice, Cloud, anti land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), currently in orbit measuring Earth surface elevation and atmosphere backscattering. These SPCMs are used to measure cloud and aerosol backscatterings to the GLAS laser light at 532-nm wavelength with 60-70% quantum efficiencies and up to 15 millions/s maximum count rates. The performance of the SPCMs has been closely monitored since ICESat launch on January 12, 2003. There has been no measurable change in the quantum efficiency, as indicated by the average photon count rates in response to the background light from the sunlit earth. The linearity and the afterpulsing seen from the cloud and surface backscatterings profiles have been the same as those during ground testing. The detector dark count rates monitored while the spacecraft was in the dark side of the globe have increased almost linearly at about 60 counts/s per day due to space radiation damage. The radiation damage appeared to be independent of the device temperature and power states. There was also an abrupt increase in radiation damage during the solar storm in 28-30 October 2003. The observed radiation damage is a factor of two to three lower than the expected and sufficiently low to provide useful atmosphere backscattering measurements through the end of the ICESat mission. To date, these SPCMs have been in orbit for more than three years. The accumulated operating time to date has reached 290 days (7000 hours). These SPCMs have provided unprecedented receiver sensitivity and dynamic range in ICESat atmosphere backscattering measurements.

  8. Space Borne Swath Mapping Laser Altimeters - Comparison of Measurement Approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, X.; Abshire, J. B.; Harding, D. J.

    2007-12-01

    Laser altimetry is an important technique for studying the surface topography of the planets and the Earth from orbit. Presently orbital laser altimeters profile surface height along a single ground track, such as the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat). NASA is developing new technologies for an orbiting swath mapping laser altimeter with faster pulse rate and smaller footprint size to provide an instantaneous 3-dimentional measurement of the of icesheets, land topography and vegetation structure. The goal is to provide a greater than 200 m wide swath with 5 to 10 m diameter laser footprint from a 400 km altitude orbit. To achieve these goals, we have to use more efficient laser transmitters and more sensitive detectors to allow simultaneous multi-channel measurement with a reasonable instrument size and electrical power requirement. The measurement efficiency in terms of electrical energy needed per laser ranging measurement needs to be improved by more than an order of magnitude. Several different approaches were considered, including the use of fiber lasers, shorter laser pulse widths, lower noise analog detectors and photon counting detectors. The receiver sensitivity was further improved by averaging the results from a number of laser pulse measurements. Different laser pulse modulation formats, such as the pseudo random noise code modulation used in the Global Position System (GPS), were investigated to give more flexibility in laser selection and to further improve the ranging performance. We have analyzed and compared measurement performance for several different approaches using the receiver models that was validated with GLAS in orbit measurement data. We compared measurement performance with the traditional high-power low-pulse-rate laser transmitters to those with low-energy high-pulse-rate laser transmitters. For this work we considered laser characteristics representative of Microchip lasers

  9. Lunar Shape via the Apollo Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Sjogren, W L; Wollenhaupt, W R

    1973-01-19

    Data from the Apollo 15 and Apollo 16 laser altimeters reveal the first accurate elevation differences between distant features on both sides of the moon. The large far-side depression observed in the Apollo 15 data is not present in the Apollo 16 data. When the laser results are compared with elevations on maps from the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, differences of 2 kilometers over a few hundred kilometers are detected in the Mare Nubium and Mare Tranquillitatis regions. The Apollo 16 data alone would put a 2-kilometer bulge toward the earth; however, the combined data are best fit by a sphere of radius 1737.7 kilometers. The offset of the center of gravity from the optical center is about 2 kilometers toward the earth and 1 kilometer eastward. The polar direction parameters are not well determined. PMID:17802353

  10. Engineering study for pallet adapting the Apollo laser altimeter and photographic camera system for the Lidar Test Experiment on orbital flight tests 2 and 4

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuebert, E. J.

    1977-01-01

    A Laser Altimeter and Mapping Camera System was included in the Apollo Lunar Orbital Experiment Missions. The backup system, never used in the Apollo Program, is available for use in the Lidar Test Experiments on the STS Orbital Flight Tests 2 and 4. Studies were performed to assess the problem associated with installation and operation of the Mapping Camera System in the STS. They were conducted on the photographic capabilities of the Mapping Camera System, its mechanical and electrical interface with the STS, documentation, operation and survivability in the expected environments, ground support equipment, test and field support.

  11. Gaussian Decomposition of Laser Altimeter Waveforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hofton, Michelle A.; Minster, J. Bernard; Blair, J. Bryan

    1999-01-01

    We develop a method to decompose a laser altimeter return waveform into its Gaussian components assuming that the position of each Gaussian within the waveform can be used to calculate the mean elevation of a specific reflecting surface within the laser footprint. We estimate the number of Gaussian components from the number of inflection points of a smoothed copy of the laser waveform, and obtain initial estimates of the Gaussian half-widths and positions from the positions of its consecutive inflection points. Initial amplitude estimates are obtained using a non-negative least-squares method. To reduce the likelihood of fitting the background noise within the waveform and to minimize the number of Gaussians needed in the approximation, we rank the "importance" of each Gaussian in the decomposition using its initial half-width and amplitude estimates. The initial parameter estimates of all Gaussians ranked "important" are optimized using the Levenburg-Marquardt method. If the sum of the Gaussians does not approximate the return waveform to a prescribed accuracy, then additional Gaussians are included in the optimization procedure. The Gaussian decomposition method is demonstrated on data collected by the airborne Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) in October 1997 over the Sequoia National Forest, California.

  12. The Mars Observer laser altimeter investigation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, M. T.; Smith, D. E.; Solomon, S. C.; Muhleman, D. O.; Head, J. W.; Garvin, J. B.; Abshire, J. B.; Bufton, J. L.

    1992-01-01

    The primary objective of the Mars Observer laser altimeter (MOLA) investigation is to determine globally the topography of Mars at a level suitable for addressing problems in geology and geophysics. Secondary objectives are to characterize the 1064-nm wavelength surface reflectivity of Mars to contribute to analyses of global surface mineralogy and seasonal albedo changes, to assist in addressing problems in atmospheric circulation, and to provide geodetic control and topographic context for the assessment of possible future Mars landing sites. The principal components of MOLA are a diode-pumped, neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet laser transmitter that emits 1064-nm wavelength laser pulses, a 0.5-m-diameter telescope, a silicon avalanche photodiode detector, and a time interval unit with 10-ns resolution. MOLA will provide measurements of the topography of Mars within approximately 160-m footprints and a center-to-center along-track foot print spacing of 300 m along the Mars Observer subspacecraft ground track. The elevation measurements will be quantized with 1.5 m vertical resolution before correction for orbit- and pointing induced errors. MOLA profiles will be assembled into a global 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg grid that will be referenced to Mars' center of mass with an absolute accuracy of approximately 30 m. Other data products will include a global grid of topographic gradients, corrected individual profiles, and a global 0.2 deg x 0.2 deg grid of 1064-nm surface reflectivity.

  13. A sample design for globally consistent biomass estimation using lidar data from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS)

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Lidar height data collected by the Geosciences Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) from 2002 to 2008 has the potential to form the basis of a globally consistent sample-based inventory of forest biomass. GLAS lidar return data were collected globally in spatially discrete full waveform “shots,” which have been shown to be strongly correlated with aboveground forest biomass. Relationships observed at spatially coincident field plots may be used to model biomass at all GLAS shots, and well-established methods of model-based inference may then be used to estimate biomass and variance for specific spatial domains. However, the spatial pattern of GLAS acquisition is neither random across the surface of the earth nor is it identifiable with any particular systematic design. Undefined sample properties therefore hinder the use of GLAS in global forest sampling. Results We propose a method of identifying a subset of the GLAS data which can justifiably be treated as a simple random sample in model-based biomass estimation. The relatively uniform spatial distribution and locally arbitrary positioning of the resulting sample is similar to the design used by the US national forest inventory (NFI). We demonstrated model-based estimation using a sample of GLAS data in the US state of California, where our estimate of biomass (211 Mg/hectare) was within the 1.4% standard error of the design-based estimate supplied by the US NFI. The standard error of the GLAS-based estimate was significantly higher than the NFI estimate, although the cost of the GLAS estimate (excluding costs for the satellite itself) was almost nothing, compared to at least US$ 10.5 million for the NFI estimate. Conclusions Global application of model-based estimation using GLAS, while demanding significant consolidation of training data, would improve inter-comparability of international biomass estimates by imposing consistent methods and a globally coherent sample frame. The methods presented here

  14. Photogrammetry and altimetry. Part A: Apollo 16 laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wollenhaupt, W. R.; Sjogren, W. L.

    1972-01-01

    The laser altimeter measures precise altitudes of the command and service module above the lunar surface and can function either with the metric (mapping) camera or independently. In the camera mode, the laser altimeter ranges at each exposure time, which varies between 20 and 28 sec (i.e., 30 to 43 km on the lunar surface). In the independent mode, the laser altimeter ranges every 20 sec. These altitude data and the spacecraft attitudes that are derived from simultaneous stellar photography are used to constrain the photogrammetric reduction of the lunar surface photographs when cartographic products are generated. In addition, the altimeter measurements alone provide broad-scale topographic relief around the entire circumference of the moon. These data are useful in investigating the selenodetic figure of the moon and may provide information regarding gravitational anomalies on the lunar far side.

  15. Development of the Laser Altimeter (LIDAR) for Hayabusa2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mizuno, T.; Kase, T.; Shiina, T.; Mita, M.; Namiki, N.; Senshu, H.; Yamada, R.; Noda, H.; Kunimori, H.; Hirata, N.; Terui, F.; Mimasu, Y.

    2016-02-01

    Hayabusa2 was launched on 3 December 2014 on an H-IIA launch vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center, and is, at the time of writing, cruising toward asteroid 162137 Ryugu ( 1999JU3). After reaching the asteroid, it will stay for about 1.5 years to observe the asteroid and collect surface material samples. The light detection and ranging (LIDAR) laser altimeter on Hayabusa2 has a wide dynamic range, from 25 km to 30 m, because the LIDAR is used as a navigation sensor for rendezvous, approach, and touchdown procedures. Since it was designed for use in planetary explorers, its weight is a low 3.5 kg. The LIDAR can serve not only as a navigation sensor, but also as observation equipment for estimating the asteroid's topography, gravity and surface reflectivity (albedo). Since Hayabusa2 had a development schedule of just three years from the start of the project to launch, minimizing development time was a particular concern. A key to shortening the development period of Hayabusa2's LIDAR system was heritage technology from Hayabusa's LIDAR and the SELENE lunar explorer's LALT laser altimeter. Given that the main role of Hayabusa2's LIDAR is to serve as a navigation sensor, we discuss its development from an engineering viewpoint. However, detailed information about instrument development and test results is also important for scientific analysis of LIDAR data and for future laser altimetry in lunar and planetary exploration. Here we describe lessons learned from the Hayabusa LIDAR, as well as Hayabusa2's hardware, new technologies and system designs based on it, and flight model evaluation results. The monolithic laser used in the laser module is a characteristic technology of this LIDAR. It was developed to solve issues with low-temperature storage that were problematic when developing the LIDAR system for the first Hayabusa mission. The new module not only solves such problems but also improves reliability and miniaturization by reducing the number of parts.

  16. Test Port for Fiber-Optic-Coupled Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramos Izquierdo, Luis; Scott, V. Stanley; Rinis, Haris; Cavanaugh, John

    2011-01-01

    A test port designed as part of a fiber optic coupled laser altimeter receiver optical system allows for the back-illumination of the optical system for alignment verification, as well as illumination of the detector(s) for testing the receiver electronics and signal-processing algorithms. Measuring the optical alignment of a laser altimeter instrument is difficult after the instrument is fully assembled. The addition of a test port in the receiver aft-optics allows for the back-illumination of the receiver system such that its focal setting and boresight alignment can be easily verified. For a multiple-detector receiver system, the addition of the aft-optics test port offers the added advantage of being able to simultaneously test all the detectors with different signals that simulate the expected operational conditions. On a laser altimeter instrument (see figure), the aft-optics couple the light from the receiver telescope to the receiver detector(s). Incorporating a beam splitter in the aft-optics design allows for the addition of a test port to back-illuminate the receiver telescope and/or detectors. The aft-optics layout resembles a T with the detector on one leg, the receiver telescope input port on the second leg, and the test port on the third leg. The use of a custom beam splitter with 99-percent reflection, 1-percent transmission, and a mirrored roof can send the test port light to the receiver telescope leg as well as the detector leg, without unduly sacrificing the signal from the receiver telescope to the detector. The ability to test the receiver system alignment, as well as multiple detectors with different signals without the need to disassemble the instrument or connect and reconnect components, is a great advantage to the aft-optics test port. Another benefit is that the receiver telescope aperture is fully back-illuminated by the test port so the receiver telescope focal setting vs. pressure and or temperature can be accurately measured (as

  17. New Measurements of Aerosol Vertical Structure from Space using the NASA Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS): Applications for Aerosol Transport Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welton, E. J.; Spinhime, J.; Palm, S.; Hlavka, D.; Hart, W.; Ginoux, P.; Chin, M.; Colarco, P.

    2004-01-01

    In the past, satellite measurements of aerosols have only been possible using passive sensors. Analysis of passive satellite data has lead to an improved understanding of aerosol properties, spatial distribution, and their effect on the earth,s climate. However, direct measurement of aerosol vertical distribution has not been possible using only the passive data. Knowledge of aerosol vertical distribution is important to correctly assess the impact of aerosol absorption, for certain atmospheric correction procedures, and to help constrain height profiles in aerosol transport models. On January 12,2003 NASA launched the first satellite-based lidar, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), onboard the ICESat spacecraft. GLAS is both an altimeter and an atmospheric lidar, and obtains direct measurements of aerosol and cloud heights. Here we show an overview of GLAS, provide an update of its current status, and discuss how GLAS data will be useful for modeling efforts. In particular, a strategy of using GLAS to characterize the height profile of dust plumes over source regions will be presented, along with initial results. Such information can be used to validate and improve output from aerosol transport models. Aerosol height profile comparisons between GLAS and transport models will be shown for regions downwind of aerosol sources. We will also discuss the feasibility of assimilating GLAS profiles into the models in order to improve their output.

  18. New Measurements of Aerosol Vertical Structure from Space Using the NASA Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS): Applications for Aerosol Transport Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welton, Ellsworth J.; Ginoux, Paul; Colarco, Peter; Chin, Mian; Spinhirne, James D.; Palm, Steven P.; Hlavka, Dennis; Hart, William

    2003-01-01

    In the past, satellite measurements of aerosols have only been possible using passive sensors. Analysis of passive satellite data has lead to an improved understanding of aerosol properties, spatial distribution, and their effect on the earth s climate. However, direct measurement of aerosol vertical distribution has not been possible using only the passive data. Knowledge of aerosol vertical distribution is important to correctly assess the impact of aerosol absorption, for certain atmospheric correction procedures, and to help constrain height profiles in aerosol transport models. On January 12,2003 NASA launched the first satellite-based lidar, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), onboard the ICESat spacecraft. GLAS is both an altimeter and an atmospheric lidar, and obtains direct measurements of aerosol and cloud heights. Here we show an overview of GLAS, provide an update of its current status, and discuss how GUS data will be useful for modeling efforts. In particular, a strategy of using GLAS to characterize the height profile of dust plumes over source regions will be presented, along with initial results. Such information can be used to validate and improve output from aerosol transport models. Aerosol height profile comparisons between GLAS and transport models will be shown for regions downwind of aerosol sources. We will also discuss the feasibility of assimilating GLAS profiles into the models in order to improve their output,

  19. Mars laser altimeter based on a single photon ranging technique

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prochazka, Ivan; Hamal, Karel; Sopko, B.; Pershin, S.

    1993-01-01

    The Mars 94/96 Mission will carry, among others things, the balloon probe experiment. The balloon with the scientific cargo in the gondola underneath will drift in the Mars atmosphere, its altitude will range from zero, in the night, up to 5 km at noon. The accurate gondola altitude will be determined by an altimeter. As the Balloon gondola mass is strictly limited, the altimeter total mass and power consumption are critical; maximum allowed is a few hundred grams a few tens of mWatts of average power consumption. We did propose, design, and construct the laser altimeter based on the single photon ranging technique. Topics covered include the following: principle of operation, altimeter construction, and ground tests.

  20. First Laser Altimeter Measurements of Mercury from the MESSENGER Flyby

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Neumann, Gregory A.; Cavanaugh, John F.; McGarry, Jan F.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2008-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter performed the first laser ranging measurements to Mercury during the Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) flyby in January 2008. The instrument successfully ranged to 600 km at an off-nadir angle >60 and to >1600 km in the nadir direction.

  1. The Mercury Laser Altimeter Instrument for the MESSENGER Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cavanaugh, John F.; Smith, James C.; Sun, Xiaoli; Bartels, Arlin E.; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Krebs, Danny J.; Novo-Gradac, Anne marie; McGarry, Jan F.; Trunzo, Raymond; Britt, Jamie L.

    2006-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of the payload science instruments on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, which launched on 3 August 2004. The altimeter will measure the round trip time-of-flight of transmitted laser pulses reflected from the surface of the planet that, in combination with the spacecraft orbit position and pointing data, gives a high-precision measurement of surface topography referenced to Mercury's center of mass. The altimeter measurements will be used to determine the planet's forced librations by tracking the motion of large-scale topographic features as a function of time. MLA's laser pulse energy monitor and the echo pulse energy estimate will provide an active measurement of the surface reflectivity at 1064 nm. This paper describes the instrument design, prelaunch testing, calibration, and results of post-launch testing.

  2. Single photon laser altimeter data processing, analysis and experimental validation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vacek, Michael; Peca, Marek; Michalek, Vojtech; Prochazka, Ivan

    2015-10-01

    Spaceborne laser altimeters are common instruments on-board the rendezvous spacecraft. This manuscript deals with the altimeters using a single photon approach, which belongs to the family of time-of-flight range measurements. Moreover, the single photon receiver part of the altimeter may be utilized as an Earth-to-spacecraft link enabling one-way ranging, time transfer and data transfer. The single photon altimeters evaluate actual altitude through the repetitive detections of single photons of the reflected laser pulses. We propose the single photon altimeter signal processing and data mining algorithm based on the Poisson statistic filter (histogram method) and the modified Kalman filter, providing all common altimetry products (altitude, slope, background photon flux and albedo). The Kalman filter is extended for the background noise filtering, the varying slope adaptation and the non-causal extension for an abrupt slope change. Moreover, the algorithm partially removes the major drawback of a single photon altitude reading, namely that the photon detection measurement statistics must be gathered. The developed algorithm deduces the actual altitude on the basis of a single photon detection; thus, being optimal in the sense that each detected signal photon carrying altitude information is tracked and no altitude information is lost. The algorithm was tested on the simulated datasets and partially cross-probed with the experimental data collected using the developed single photon altimeter breadboard based on the microchip laser with the pulse energy on the order of microjoule and the repetition rate of several kilohertz. We demonstrated that such an altimeter configuration may be utilized for landing or hovering a small body (asteroid, comet).

  3. Participation in the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pettengill, Gordon H.

    2002-01-01

    This NASA Grant, 5-4434, has covered the active participation of the Principal Investigator, Prof. Gordon Pettengill, and his Co-Investigator, Peter Ford, in the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Experiment, over a period of five years. This participation has included attending team meetings, planning observing operations, developing data-reduction software algorithms, and processing data, as well as presenting a number of oral reports at scientific meetings and published papers in refereed journals. This research has concentrated on the various types of Martian clouds that were detected by the laser altimeter.

  4. Refinement of Phobos Ephemeris Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Radiometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Bills, B. G.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2004-01-01

    Radiometric observations from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) can be used to improve the ephemeris of Phobos, with particular interest in refining estimates of the secular acceleration due to tidal dissipation within Mars. We have searched the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) radiometry data for shadows cast by the moon Phobos, finding 7 such profiles during the Mapping and Extended Mission phases, and 5 during the last two years of radiometry operations. Preliminary data suggest that the motion of Phobos has advanced by one or more seconds beyond that predicted by the current ephemerides, and the advance has increased over the 5 years of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) operations.

  5. Waveform model of a laser altimeter for an elliptical Gaussian beam.

    PubMed

    Yue, Ma; Mingwei, Wang; Guoyuan, Li; Xiushan, Lu; Fanlin, Yang

    2016-03-10

    The current waveform model of a laser altimeter is based on the Gaussian laser beam of the fundamental mode, whose cross section is a circular spot, whereas some of the cross sections of Geoscience Laser Altimeter System lasers are closer to elliptical spots. Based on the expression of the elliptical Gaussian beam and the waveform theory of laser altimeters, the primary parameters of an echo waveform were derived. In order to examine the deduced expressions, a laser altimetry waveform simulator and waveform processing software were programmed and improved under the circumstance of an elliptical Gaussian beam. The result shows that all the biases between the theoretical and simulated waveforms were less than 0.5%, and the derived model of an elliptical spot is universal and can also be used for the conventional circular spot. The shape of the waveforms is influenced by the ellipticity of the laser spot, the target slope, and the "azimuth angle" between the major axis and the slope direction. This article provides the waveform theoretical basis of a laser altimeter under an elliptical Gaussian beam. PMID:26974789

  6. Mars orbiter laser altimeter: receiver model and performance analysis.

    PubMed

    Abshire, J B; Sun, X; Afzal, R S

    2000-05-20

    The design, calibration, and performance of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) receiver are described. The MOLA measurements include the range to the surface, which is determined by the laser-pulse time of flight; the height variability within the footprint determined by the laser echo pulse width; and the apparent surface reflectivity determined by the ratio of the echo to transmitted pulse energies. PMID:18345159

  7. Lunar Observer Laser Altimeter observations for lunar base site selection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, James B.; Bufton, Jack L.

    1992-01-01

    One of the critical datasets for optimal selection of future lunar landing sites is local- to regional-scale topography. Lunar base site selection will require such data for both engineering and scientific operations purposes. The Lunar Geoscience Orbiter or Lunar Observer is the ideal precursory science mission from which to obtain this required information. We suggest that a simple laser altimeter instrument could be employed to measure local-scale slopes, heights, and depths of lunar surface features important to lunar base planning and design. For this reason, we have designed and are currently constructing a breadboard of a Lunar Observer Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument capable of acquiring contiguous-footprint topographic profiles with both 30-m and 300-m along-track resolution. This instrument meets all the severe weight, power, size, and data rate limitations imposed by Observer-class spacecraft. In addition, LOLA would be capable of measuring the within-footprint vertical roughness of the lunar surface, and the 1.06-micron relative surface reflectivity at normal incidence. We have used airborne laser altimeter data for a few representative lunar analog landforms to simulate and analyze LOLA performance in a 100-km lunar orbit. We demonstrate that this system in its highest resolution mode (30-m diameter footprints) would quantify the topography of all but the very smallest lunar landforms. At its global mapping resolution (300-m diameter footprints), LOLA would establish the topographic context for lunar landing site selection by providing the basis for constructing a 1-2 km spatial resolution global, geodetic topographic grid that would contain a high density of observations (e.g., approximately 1000 observations per each 1 deg by 1 deg cell at the lunar equator). The high spatial and vertical resolution measurements made with a LOLA-class instrument on a precursory Lunar Observer would be highly synergistic with high-resolution imaging datasets, and

  8. One GHz digitizer for space based laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Staples, Edward J.

    1991-01-01

    This is the final report for the research and development of the one GHz digitizer for space based laser altimeter. A feasibility model was designed, built, and tested. Only partial testing of essential functions of the digitizer was completed. Hybrid technology was incorporated which allows analog storage (memory) of the digitally sampled data. The actual sampling rate is 62.5 MHz, but executed in 16 parallel channels, to provide an effective sampling rate of one GHz. The average power consumption of the one GHz digitizer is not more than 1.5 Watts. A one GHz oscillator is incorporated for timing purposes. This signal is also made available externally for system timing. A software package was also developed for internal use (controls, commands, etc.) and for data communication with the host computer. The digitizer is equipped with an onboard microprocessor for this purpose.

  9. SRTM and Laser Altimeter Views of Western Washington State Topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, D. J.; Carabajal, C. C.

    2001-12-01

    Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and laser altimeter measurements of topography provide complimentary approaches to characterize landforms. Results from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) will provide an unprecedented, near-global, public-domain topography data set at 90 m resolution using a single pass C-band (5.6 cm wavelength) radar interferometer. In vegetated terrains, the C-band radar energy will penetrate part way into vegetation cover. The elevation of the resulting radar phase center, somewhere between the canopy top and underlying ground, will depend on the vegetation density, structure, and presence or absence of foliage. The high vertical accuracy and spatial resolution achieved by laser altimeters, and their capability to directly measure vegetation height and ground topography beneath vegetation cover, provides a method to evaluate InSAR representations of topography. Here a preliminary C-band SRTM digital elevation model (DEM) for a portion of western Washington State is evaluated using laser altimeter data to assess its elevation accuracy and the extent of vegetation penetration. The SRTM DEM extends from the Cascades Range westward to the Olympic Peninsula. The laser altimeter data includes two profiles acquired by the second flight of the Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA-02) in August, 1997, numerous transects acquired by the airborne Scanning Lidar Imager of Canopies by Echo Recovery (SLICER) in September, 1995, and comprehensive mapping in the Puget Lowland region acquired by Terrapoint, LLC for the Puget Sound Lidar Consortium in the winters of 2000 and 2001. SLA-02 and SLICER acquired waveforms that record the height distribution of illuminated surfaces within 120 m and 10 m diameter footprints, respectively. The Terrapoint elevations consist of up to four discrete returns from 1 m footprints spaced 1.5 apart, with all areas mapped twice. Methods for comparing laser altimeter and SRTM topography developed here will be

  10. Lunar Geodetic Opportunities with the Laser Altimeter on LRO

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.

    2006-01-01

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is to be launched at the end of 2008 and will carry 7 instruments, one of which is a laser altimeter (LOLA), and obtain observations of the Moon for a period of 1 year. The orbit will be near polar and approximately circular at 50 km altitude with monthly orbital adjustments to maintain the mean altitude. The LOLA instrument has a -10 cm single-shot accuracy, with 5 beams, and operates at 28 Hz. It provides 5 adjacent profiles, each approximately 12 to 15 meters apart with a swath of approximately 65 meters. The 5 beams are arranged in a cross-shaped pattern that provides simultaneous along and cross track altimetry and providing slopes in 2 orthogonal directions every 50 meters along track. In combination with the LRO tracking data LOLA will be used to improve the model of the lunar gravity by using the altimeter on both the lunar near-side and far-side as an additional tracking system to enable precise positioning of the LRO spacecraft at about the 50 meter level rms. The instrument is expected to provide full polar coverage at very high northern and southern latitudes with spatial resolutions of 25 meters or better. In addition to the range to the surface LOLA measures the surface roughness from the spreading of the laser pulse and also the reflectance of the surface at 1064 nm. These measurements in conjunction with the altimetry will assist in the selection of future landing sites for future robotic and human missions to the Moon.

  11. Development of the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Bertrand L., Jr

    1993-01-01

    The Mars Observer (MO) spacecraft payload scientific mission is to gather data on Martian global topography, gravity, weather, magnetic field and its interaction with the solar flux, surface chemistry, and mineralogy over one Mars year. In mid-1988 the need for a replacement altimeter as part of the payload complement arose. The Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA) was proposed by GSFC as an in-house effort and shortly afterward was 'conditionally' accepted. Constraints on funding, schedule, power, and mass were imposed with periodic reviews during the instrument development to authorize continuation. MOLA was designed, tested, and delivered in less than 36 months and integrated with the spacecraft. During spacecraft payload testing, the laser failed due to contamination in the laser cavity. In only 6 months, the laser was removed, rebuilt from spare parts, retested, and the instrument reassembled, realigned, requalified, and again delivered for spacecraft integration. Other aspects of the development of the MOLA are presented.

  12. Qualification of Laser Diode Arrays for Mercury Laser Altimeter Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stephen, Mark; Vasilyev, Aleksey; Schafer, John; Allan, Graham R.

    2004-01-01

    NASA's requirements for high reliability, high performance satellite laser instruments have driven the investigation of many critical components; specifically, 808 nm laser diode array (LDA) pump devices. The MESSENGER mission is flying the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) which is a diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser instrument designed to map the topography of Mercury. The environment imposed on the instrument by the orbital dynamics places special requirements on the laser diode arrays. In order to limit the radiative heating of the satellite from the surface of Mercury, the satellite is designed to have a highly elliptical orbit. The satellite will heat near perigee and cool near apogee. The laser power is cycled during these orbits so that the laser is on for only 30 minutes (perigee) in a 12 hour orbit. The laser heats 10 C while powered up and cools while powered down. In order to simulate these operational conditions, we designed a test to measure the LDA performance while being temperature and power cycled. Though the mission requirements are specific to NASA and performance requirements are derived from unique operating conditions, the results are general and widely applicable. We present results on the performance of twelve LDAs operating for several hundred million pulses. The arrays are 100 watt, quasi-CW, conductively-cooled, 808 nm devices. Prior to testing, we fully characterize each device to establish a baseline for individual array performance and status. Details of this characterization can be found in reference. Arrays are divided into four groups and subjected to the temperature and power cycling matrix are shown.

  13. The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS): An Airborne Laser Altimeter for Mapping Vegetation and Topography

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bryan, J.; Rabine, David L.

    1998-01-01

    The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne laser altimeter designed to quickly and extensively map surface topography as well as the relative heights of other reflecting surfaces within the laser footprint. Since 1997, this instrument has primarily been used as the airborne simulator for the Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) mission, a spaceborne mission designed to measure tree height, vertical structure and ground topography (including sub-canopy topography). LVIS is capable of operating from 500 m to 10 km above ground level with footprint sizes from 1 to 60 m. Laser footprints can be randomly spaced within the 7 degree telescope field-of-view, constrained only by the operating frequency of the ND:YAG Q-switched laser (500 Hz). A significant innovation of the LVIS altimeter is that all ranging, waveform recording, and range gating are performed using a single digitizer, clock base, and detector. A portion of the outgoing laser pulse is fiber-optically fed into the detector used to collect the return signal and this entire time history of the outgoing and return pulses is digitized at 500 Msamp/sec. The ground return is then located using software digital signal processing, even in the presence of visibly opaque clouds. The surface height distribution of all reflecting surfaces within the laser footprint can be determined, for example, tree height and ground elevation. To date, the LVIS system has been used to monitor topographic change at Long Valley caldera, CA, as part of NASA's Topography and Surface Change program, and to map tree structure and sub-canopy topography at the La Selva Biological Research Station in Costa Rica, as part of the pre-launch calibration activities for the VCL mission. We present results that show the laser altimeter consistently and accurately maps surface topography, including sub-canopy topography, and vegetation height and structure. These results confirm the measurement concept of VCL and highlight the benefits of

  14. Remote sensing of atmospheric pressure and sea state using laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, C. S.

    1985-01-01

    Short-pulse multicolor laser ranging systems are currently being developed for satellite ranging applications. These systems use Q-switched pulsed lasers and streak-tube cameras to provide timing accuracies approaching a few picoseconds. Satellite laser ranging systems have been used to evaluate many important geophysical phenomena such as fault motion, polar motion and solid earth tides, by measuring the orbital perturbations of retroreflector equipped satellites. Some existing operational systems provide range resolution approaching a few millimeters. There is currently considerable interest in adapting these highly accurate systems for use as airborne and satellite based altimeters. Potential applications include the measurement of sea state, ground topography and atmospheric pressure. This paper reviews recent progress in the development of multicolor laser altimeters for use in monitoring sea state and atmospheric pressure.

  15. Lunar Topography: Results from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, Gregory; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Mazarico, Erwan

    2012-01-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been operating nearly continuously since July 2009, accumulating over 6 billion measurements from more than 2 billion in-orbit laser shots. LRO's near-polar orbit results in very high data density in the immediate vicinity of the lunar poles, with full coverage at the equator from more than 12000 orbital tracks averaging less than 1 km in spacing at the equator. LRO has obtained a global geodetic model of the lunar topography with 50-meter horizontal and 1-m radial accuracy in a lunar center-of-mass coordinate system, with profiles of topography at 20-m horizontal resolution, and 0.1-m vertical precision. LOLA also provides measurements of reflectivity and surface roughness down to its 5-m laser spot size. With these data LOLA has measured the shape of all lunar craters 20 km and larger. In the proposed extended mission commencing late in 2012, LOLA will concentrate observations in the Southern Hemisphere, improving the density of the polar coverage to nearly 10-m pixel resolution and accuracy to better than 20 m total position error. Uses for these data include mission planning and targeting, illumination studies, geodetic control of images, as well as lunar geology and geophysics. Further improvements in geodetic accuracy are anticipated from the use of re ned gravity fields after the successful completion of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission in 2012.

  16. Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA): A pathfinder for space-based laser altimetry and lidar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bufton, Jack; Blair, Bryan; Cavanaugh, John; Garvin, James

    1995-09-01

    The Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) is a Hitchhiker experiment now being integrated for first flight on STS-72 in November 1995. Four Shuttle flights of the SLA are planned at a rate of about a flight every 18 months. They are aimed at the transition of the Goddard Space Flight Center airborne laser altimeter and lidar technology to low Earth orbit as a pathfinder for operational space-based laser remote sensing devices. Future alser altimeter sensors such as the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), an Earth Observing System facility instrument, and the Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter (MBLA), the land and vegetation laser altimeter for the NASA TOPSAT (Topography Satellite) Mission, will utilize systems and approaches being tested with SLA. The SLA Instrument measures the distance from the Space Shuttle to the Earth's surface by timing the two-way propagation of short (approximately 10 na noseconds) laser pulses. laser pulses at 1064 nm wavelength are generated in a laser transmitter and are detected by a telescope equipped with a silicon avalanche photodiode detector. The SLA data system makes the pulse time interval measurement to a precision of about 10 nsec and also records the temporal shape of the laser echo from the Earth's surface for interpretation of surface height distribution within the 100 m diam. sensor footprint. For example, tree height can be determined by measuring the characteristic double-pulse signature that results from a separation in time of laser backscatter from tree canopies and the underlying ground. This is accomplished with a pulse waveform digitizer that samples the detector output with an adjustable resolution of 2 nanoseconds or wider intervals in a 100 sample window centered on the return pulse echo. The digitizer makes the SLA into a high resolution surface lidar sensor. It can also be used for cloud and atmospheric aerosol lidar measurements by lengthening the sampling window and degrading the waveform resolution. Detailed test

  17. Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA): A pathfinder for space-based laser altimetry and lidar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bufton, Jack; Blair, Bryan; Cavanaugh, John; Garvin, James

    1995-01-01

    The Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) is a Hitchhiker experiment now being integrated for first flight on STS-72 in November 1995. Four Shuttle flights of the SLA are planned at a rate of about a flight every 18 months. They are aimed at the transition of the Goddard Space Flight Center airborne laser altimeter and lidar technology to low Earth orbit as a pathfinder for operational space-based laser remote sensing devices. Future alser altimeter sensors such as the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), an Earth Observing System facility instrument, and the Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter (MBLA), the land and vegetation laser altimeter for the NASA TOPSAT (Topography Satellite) Mission, will utilize systems and approaches being tested with SLA. The SLA Instrument measures the distance from the Space Shuttle to the Earth's surface by timing the two-way propagation of short (approximately 10 na noseconds) laser pulses. laser pulses at 1064 nm wavelength are generated in a laser transmitter and are detected by a telescope equipped with a silicon avalanche photodiode detector. The SLA data system makes the pulse time interval measurement to a precision of about 10 nsec and also records the temporal shape of the laser echo from the Earth's surface for interpretation of surface height distribution within the 100 m diam. sensor footprint. For example, tree height can be determined by measuring the characteristic double-pulse signature that results from a separation in time of laser backscatter from tree canopies and the underlying ground. This is accomplished with a pulse waveform digitizer that samples the detector output with an adjustable resolution of 2 nanoseconds or wider intervals in a 100 sample window centered on the return pulse echo. The digitizer makes the SLA into a high resolution surface lidar sensor. It can also be used for cloud and atmospheric aerosol lidar measurements by lengthening the sampling window and degrading the waveform resolution. Detailed test

  18. Return Echoes from Medium-Large Footprint Laser Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Hofton, Michelle A.; Rabine, David L.

    1999-01-01

    For just over 10 years, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has been at the forefront of developing return echo laser altimeters and analysis techniques for a variety of both space and airborne applications. In 1991, the Laser Remote Sensing Branch began investigating the use of medium-large diameter footprint return waveforms for measuring vegetation height and structure and sub-canopy topography. Over the last 8 years, using a variety of profiling and scanning laser altimeters (i.e. ATLAS, SLICER, SLA, and LVIS), we have collected return waveforms over a variety of terrestrial surface types. We describe the effects of instrument characteristics and within-footprint surface structure on the shape of the return waveform and suggest several techniques for extracting this information. Specifically for vegetation returns, we describe the effects of canopy parameters such as architecture and closure on the shape of the return waveform. Density profiles, statistics, and examples from a variety of vegetation types will be presented, as well as comparisons with small-footprint laser altimeter data.

  19. A Laser Altimeter for a Planetary Flyby Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Sun, X.; Cavanaugh, J.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E.; Genova, A.

    2014-12-01

    Several planetary missions are contemplated as flybys of planets, asteroids, and natural satellites. In many cases the option to orbit the body is impractical and observations during one or many flybys represent the only reasonable option. A laser altimeter provides measurements of topography and shape, surface roughness, and normal reflectivity at the laser wavelength and has been shown to be very effective at Mars, Mercury and the Moon when in orbit about the body and also when in proximity of an asteroid. But flyby missions are less able to provide the coverage and uniformity of the data being acquired by the instruments on the s/c because of the variation in range of the spacecraft from the body during a flyby. To address this problem, we have modified the design of our single beam Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), currently collecting observations on the MESSENGER mission, to provide an operating range of several thousand kilometers by increasing the output from the laser, providing a variable pulse-rate while maintaining constant electrical power, that can provide quasi-contiguous altimeter pixels during the flyby, and by storing the complete output from the detector. This approach will provide accurate topographic and shape data and enable improved orbit determination of the spacecraft by the use of orbital crossovers with minimal interpolation errors between measurements. The mass, power and data rate of the instrument is compatible with typical constraints in planetary missions.

  20. Laser Altimeter Evaluation of an SRTM DEM for Western Washington State

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carabajal, C. C.; Harding, D. J.

    2002-05-01

    Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and laser altimeter measurements of topography provide complimentary approaches to characterize landforms. Results from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) will provide an unprecedented, near-global, Digital Elevation Model (DEM) at 30 m resolution using a single pass C-band (5.6 cm wavelength) radar interferometer. In vegetated terrains, the C-band radar energy penetrates part way into vegetation cover. The elevation of the resulting radar phase center, somewhere between the canopy top and underlying ground, depends on the vegetation height, density, structure, and presence or absence of foliage. The high vertical accuracy and spatial resolution achieved by laser altimeters, and their capability to directly measure the vertical distribution of vegetation and underlying ground topography, provides a method to evaluate InSAR representations of topography. In order to provide an independent assessment of SRTM DEM accuracy and error characteristics, a simple but rigorous methodology based on comparisons to airborne and satellite laser altimeter profiles has been developed and tested. Initially, an SRTM DEM produced for a large part of western Washington State by the JPL PI processor has been compared to Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) and airborne Scanning Lidar Imager of Canopies by Echo Recovery (SLICER) data. The accuracy of the laser altimeter data sets has been previously characterized. For SLICER profiles, each about 40 km long, the mean and standard deviation of elevation differences between the SRTM DEM and SLICER-defined canopy top and ground are computed. The SRTM DEM is usually located between the canopy top and ground. A poor correlation is observed between the per-pixel error estimate provided with the SRTM DEM and the observed SLICER to SRTM elevation differences. In addition to these profile comparisons, a very high resolution DEM acquired by Terrapoint, LLC for the Puget Sound Lidar Consortium

  1. A Boresight Adjustment Mechanism for use on Laser Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hakun, Claef; Budinoff, Jason; Brown, Gary; Parong, Fil; Morell, Armando

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes the development of the Boresight Adjustment Mechanism (BAM) for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument. The BAM was developed late in the integration and test phase of the GLAS instrument flight program. Thermal vacuum tests of the GLAS instrument indicated that the instrument boresight alignment stability over temperature may be marginal. To reduce the risk that GLAS may not be able to meet the boresight alignment requirements, an intensive effort was started to develop a BAM. Observatory-level testing and further evaluation of the boresight alignment data indicated that sufficient margin could be obtained utilizing existing instrument resources and therefore the BAM was never integrated onto the GLAS Instrument. However, the BAM was designed fabricated and fully qualified over a 4 month timeframe to be capable of precisely steering (< 1 arcsec over 300 arcsec) the output of three independent lasers to ensure the alignment between the transmit and receive paths of the GLAS instrument. The short timeline for the development of the mechanism resulted in several interesting design solutions. This paper discusses the requirement definition, design, and testing processes of the BAM development effort, how the design was affected by the extremely tight development schedule, and the lessons learned throughout the process.

  2. A Boresight Adjusment Mechanism For Use in Laser Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hakun, Claef; Budinoff, Jason; Brown, Gary; Parong, Fil; Morell, Armando

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes the development of the Boresight Adjustment Mechanism (BAM) for the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) Instrument. The BAM was developed late in the integration and test phase of the GLAS instrument flight program. Thermal vacuum tests of the GLAS instrument indicated that the instrument-boresight alignment stability over temperature may be marginal. To reduce the risk that GLAS may not be able to meet the boresight alignment requirements an intensive effort was started to develop a BAM. Observatory-level testing and further evaluation of the boresight alignment data indicated that sufficient margin could be obtained utilizing existing instrument resources and therefore the BAM was never integrated onto the GLAS Instrument. However, the BAM was designed fabricated and fully qualified over a 4 month timeframe to be capable of precisely steering (less than 2 arcsec over plus or minus 300 arcsec) the output of three independent lasers to ensure the alignment between the transmit and receive paths of the GLAS instrument. The short timeline for the development of the mechanism resulted in several interesting design solutions. This paper discusses the requirement definition design, and testing processes of the BAM development effort how the design was affected by the extremely tight development schedule and the lessons learned throughout the process.

  3. Single photon laser altimeter simulator and statistical signal processing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vacek, Michael; Prochazka, Ivan

    2013-05-01

    Spaceborne altimeters are common instruments onboard the deep space rendezvous spacecrafts. They provide range and topographic measurements critical in spacecraft navigation. Simultaneously, the receiver part may be utilized for Earth-to-satellite link, one way time transfer, and precise optical radiometry. The main advantage of single photon counting approach is the ability of processing signals with very low signal-to-noise ratio eliminating the need of large telescopes and high power laser source. Extremely small, rugged and compact microchip lasers can be employed. The major limiting factor, on the other hand, is the acquisition time needed to gather sufficient volume of data in repetitive measurements in order to process and evaluate the data appropriately. Statistical signal processing is adopted to detect signals with average strength much lower than one photon per measurement. A comprehensive simulator design and range signal processing algorithm are presented to identify a mission specific altimeter configuration. Typical mission scenarios (celestial body surface landing and topographical mapping) are simulated and evaluated. The high interest and promising single photon altimeter applications are low-orbit (˜10 km) and low-radial velocity (several m/s) topographical mapping (asteroids, Phobos and Deimos) and landing altimetry (˜10 km) where range evaluation repetition rates of ˜100 Hz and 0.1 m precision may be achieved. Moon landing and asteroid Itokawa topographical mapping scenario simulations are discussed in more detail.

  4. Co-registration of Laser Altimeter Tracks with Digital Terrain Models and Applications in Planetary Science

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glaeser, P.; Haase, I.; Oberst, J.; Neumann, G. A.

    2013-01-01

    We have derived algorithms and techniques to precisely co-register laser altimeter profiles with gridded Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), typically derived from stereo images. The algorithm consists of an initial grid search followed by a least-squares matching and yields the translation parameters at sub-pixel level needed to align the DTM and the laser profiles in 3D space. This software tool was primarily developed and tested for co-registration of laser profiles from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) with DTMs derived from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) stereo images. Data sets can be co-registered with positional accuracy between 0.13 m and several meters depending on the pixel resolution and amount of laser shots, where rough surfaces typically result in more accurate co-registrations. Residual heights of the data sets are as small as 0.18 m. The software can be used to identify instrument misalignment, orbit errors, pointing jitter, or problems associated with reference frames being used. Also, assessments of DTM effective resolutions can be obtained. From the correct position between the two data sets, comparisons of surface morphology and roughness can be made at laser footprint- or DTM pixel-level. The precise co-registration allows us to carry out joint analysis of the data sets and ultimately to derive merged high-quality data products. Examples of matching other planetary data sets, like LOLA with LRO Wide Angle Camera (WAC) DTMs or Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) with stereo models from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) as well as Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) with Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) are shown to demonstrate the broad science applications of the software tool.

  5. Co-registration of laser altimeter tracks with digital terrain models and applications in planetary science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gläser, P.; Haase, I.; Oberst, J.; Neumann, G. A.

    2013-12-01

    We have derived algorithms and techniques to precisely co-register laser altimeter profiles with gridded Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), typically derived from stereo images. The algorithm consists of an initial grid search followed by a least-squares matching and yields the translation parameters at sub-pixel level needed to align the DTM and the laser profiles in 3D space. This software tool was primarily developed and tested for co-registration of laser profiles from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) with DTMs derived from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) stereo images. Data sets can be co-registered with positional accuracy between 0.13 m and several meters depending on the pixel resolution and amount of laser shots, where rough surfaces typically result in more accurate co-registrations. Residual heights of the data sets are as small as 0.18 m. The software can be used to identify instrument misalignment, orbit errors, pointing jitter, or problems associated with reference frames being used. Also, assessments of DTM effective resolutions can be obtained. From the correct position between the two data sets, comparisons of surface morphology and roughness can be made at laser footprint- or DTM pixel-level. The precise co-registration allows us to carry out joint analysis of the data sets and ultimately to derive merged high-quality data products. Examples of matching other planetary data sets, like LOLA with LRO Wide Angle Camera (WAC) DTMs or Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) with stereo models from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) as well as Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) with Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) are shown to demonstrate the broad science applications of the software tool.

  6. LASER ALTIMETER CANOPY HEIGHT PROFILES: METHODS AND VALIDATION FOR CLOSED-CANOPY, BROADLEAF FORESTS. (R828309)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Abstract

    Waveform-recording laser altimeter observations of vegetated landscapes provide a time-resolved measure of laser pulse backscatter energy from canopy surfaces and the underlying ground. Airborne laser altimeter waveform data was acquired using the Scanning Lid...

  7. ICESAT Laser Altimeter Pointing, Ranging and Timing Calibration from Integrated Residual Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Luthcke, Scott B.; Rowlands, D. D.; Carabajal, C. C.; Harding, D. H.; Bufton, J. L.; Williams, T. A.

    2003-01-01

    On January 12, 2003 the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) was successfully placed into orbit. The ICESat mission carries the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), which has a primary measurement of short-pulse laser- ranging to the Earth s surface at 1064nm wavelength at a rate of 40 pulses per second. The instrument has collected precise elevation measurements of the ice sheets, sea ice roughness and thickness, ocean and land surface elevations and surface reflectivity. The accurate geolocation of GLAS s surface returns, the spots from which the laser energy reflects on the Earth s surface, is a critical issue in the scientific application of these data. Pointing, ranging, timing and orbit errors must be compensated to accurately geolocate the laser altimeter surface returns. Towards this end, the laser range observations can be fully exploited in an integrated residual analysis to accurately calibrate these geolocation/instrument parameters. ICESat laser altimeter data have been simultaneously processed as direct altimetry from ocean sweeps along with dynamic crossovers in order to calibrate pointing, ranging and timing. The calibration methodology and current calibration results are discussed along with future efforts.

  8. 20,000 Photons Under the Snow: Subsurface Scattering of Visible Laser Light and the Implications for Laser Altimeters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greeley, A.; Kurtz, N. T.; Shappirio, M.; Neumann, T.; Cook, W. B.; Markus, T.

    2014-12-01

    Existing visible light laser altimeters such as ATM (Airborne Topographical Mapper) with NASA's Operation IceBridge and NASA's MABEL (Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar; a simulator for NASA's ICESat-2 mission) are providing scientists with a view of Earth's ice sheets, glaciers, and sea ice with unprecedented detail. Measuring how these surfaces evolve in the face of a rapidly changing climate requires the utmost attention to detail in the design and calibration of these instruments, as well as understanding the changing optical properties of these surfaces. As single photon counting lidars, MABEL and NASA's ATLAS (Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System) on the upcoming ICESat-2 mission provide fundamentally different information compared with waveform lidars such as ATM, or GLAS (Geoscience Laser Altimeter System) on NASA's previous ICESat-1 mission. By recording the travel times of individual photons, more detailed information about the surface, and potentially the subsurface, are available and must be considered in elevation retrievals from the observed photon cloud. Here, we investigate possible sources of uncertainty associated with monochromatic visible light scattering in subsurface snow, which may affect the precision and accuracy of elevation estimates. We also explore the capacity to estimate snow grain size in near surface snow using experimental visible light laser data obtained in laboratory experiments.

  9. Biomass accumulation rates of Amazonian secondary forest and biomass of old-growth forests from Landsat time series and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helmer, Eileen H.; Lefsky, Michael A.; Roberts, Dar A.

    2009-01-01

    We estimate the age of humid lowland tropical forests in Rondônia, Brazil, from a somewhat densely spaced time series of Landsat images (1975-2003) with an automated procedure, the Threshold Age Mapping Algorithm (TAMA), first described here. We then estimate a landscape-level rate of aboveground woody biomass accumulation of secondary forest by combining forest age mapping with biomass estimates from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). Though highly variable, the estimated average biomass accumulation rate of 8.4 Mg ha-1 yr-1 agrees well with ground-based studies for young secondary forests in the region. In isolating the lowland forests, we map land cover and general types of old-growth forests with decision tree classification of Landsat imagery and elevation data. We then estimate aboveground live biomass for seven classes of old-growth forest. TAMA is simple, fast, and self-calibrating. By not using between-date band or index differences or trends, it requires neither image normalization nor atmospheric correction. In addition, it uses an approach to map forest cover for the self-calibrations that is novel to forest mapping with satellite imagery; it maps humid secondary forest that is difficult to distinguish from old-growth forest in single-date imagery; it does not assume that forest age equals time since disturbance; and it incorporates Landsat Multispectral Scanner imagery. Variations on the work that we present here can be applied to other forested landscapes. Applications that use image time series will be helped by the free distribution of coregistered Landsat imagery, which began in December 2008, and of the Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite Vegetation Product, which simplifies the use of GLAS data. Finally, we demonstrate here for the first time how the optical imagery of fine spatial resolution that is viewable on Google Earth provides a new source of reference data for remote sensing applications related to land cover.

  10. Multicolor laser altimeter for barometric measurements over the ocean - Theoretical

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, C. S.; Tsai, B. M.; Im, K. E.

    1983-01-01

    It is noted that the optical path length from a satellite to the earth's surface strongly depends on the atmospheric pressure along the propagation path. The theoretical basis of a surface pressure measurement technique, which uses a two-color laser altimeter to observe the change with wavelength in the optical path length from a satellite to the ocean surface, is evaluated. The statistical characteristics of the ocean-reflected pulses and the expected measurement accuracy are analyzed in terms of the altitude parameters. The results show that it is feasible to obtain a pressure accuracy of a few millibars.

  11. Lunar altimetric datasets: Global comparisons with the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter elevation model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Duxbury, T. C.; Lemoine, F. G.; Mazarico, E.; Oberst, J.; Robinson, M. S.; Smith, D. E.; Torrence, M. H.; Zuber, M. T.

    2010-12-01

    Starting with the Apollo program, increasingly precise orbital and Earth-based measurements of the topography of the Moon have been performed with radar and laser altimeters. Orbital measurements are the most accurate, being relative to the center of mass, while Earth-based radar must generally be adjusted to match controls. Recent data from high-resolution laser altimeters reveal substantial errors in earlier datasets. We present the results of over 2.4 billion measurements (as of Sept. 1, 2010) from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), with near-global coverage, 10-cm vertical precision, and meter-level radial accuracy, to which datasets from the Arecibo and Goldstone radar, the photogrammetric Unified Lunar Control Network 2005, and from the Clementine (DOD), LALT (JAXA), LAM (CSA) and LLRI (ISA) laser altimeters may be compared. The geodetic network being generated by LOLA will be applied to images and stereophotogrammetric solutions being generated by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to create a reference dataset suitable for exploration and science. The LOLA data, either as 5-point multibeam swaths or as digital elevation models, may also be used to assess the orbital, attitude, and timing accuracy of other mapping instruments. Examples will be shown using the densely-sampled, polar 20-m digital elevation models being provided to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and Planetary Data System of NASA as part of the LRO Project. With other altimetric datasets and mapping camera solutions filling in the gaps between LOLA swaths, a consistent, accurate, and international altimetric dataset will emerge.

  12. Crossover Analysis of CHANG'E-1 Laser Altimeter Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, W.; Yue, Z.; Di, K.

    2011-08-01

    This paper presents a preliminary result of crossover analysis and adjustment of Chang'E-1(CE-1) Laser Altimeter (LAM) data of the Moon for global and regional mapping applications. During the operation of Chang'E-1 from November 28, 2007 to December 4, 2008, the laser altimeter acquired 1400 orbital profiles with about 9.12 million altimetric points. In our experiment, we derived more than 1.38 million crossovers from 1395 ground tracks covering the entire lunar surface after eliminating outliers of orbits and altimetric points. A method of least-squares crossover adjustment with a series of basis functions of time (trigonometric functions and polynomials) is developed to reconcile the LAM data by minimizing the crossover residuals globally. The normal equations are very large but sparse; therefore they are stored and solved using sparse matrix technique. In a test area (0°N~60°N, 50°W~0°W), the crossover residuals are reduced from 62.1m to 32.8m, and the quality of the DEM generated from the adjusted LAM data is improved accordingly. We will optimize the method for the global adjustment to generate a high precision consistent global DEM, which can be used as absolute control for lunar mapping with orbital images.

  13. An Imaging Laser Altimeter for Lunar Scientific Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    A new approach to laser altimetry is offered by the development of micro-lasers and pixilated detectors that enable very high resolution measurement of topography and relatively wide swath observations. An imaging altimeter with a 8x8 array detector working at a probability of less than a single photon/shot could map the Moon or similar sized body in approximately 2 years and provide 5 meter horizontal resolution topography and a 10 centimeter vertical accuracy. In addition, it would provide surface roughness and surface slopes on similar length scales of 5 meters and be able to address a range of problems for which topography or lunar shape is important at the decimeter level. This includes the topography of the polar regions, where ice is thought to have been identified, and also the cratering history of the Moon which could be assessed with a dataset of uniform quality and high resolution.

  14. Night and Day: The Opacity of Clouds Measured by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Wilson, R. J.

    2006-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) [l] on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft ranged to clouds over the course of nearly two Mars years [2] using an active laser ranging system. While ranging to the surface, the instrument was also able to measure the product of the surface reflectivity with the two-way atmospheric transmission at 1064 nm. Furthermore, the reflectivity has now been mapped over seasonal cycles using the passive radiometric capability built into MOLA [3]. Combining these measurements, the column opacity may be inferred. MOLA uniquely provides these measurements both night and day. This study examines the pronounced nighttime opacity of the aphelion season tropical water ice clouds, and the indiscernibly low opacity of the southern polar winter clouds. The water ice clouds (Figure 1) do not themselves trigger the altimeter but have measured opacities tau > 1.5 and are temporally and spatially correlated with temperature anomalies predicted by a Mars Global Circulation Model (MGCM) that incorporates cloud radiative effects [4]. The south polar CO2 ice clouds trigger the altimeter with a very high backscatter cross-section over a thickness of 3-9 m and are vertically dispersed over several km, but their total column opacities lie well below the MOLA measurement limit of tau = 0.7. These clouds correspond to regions of supercooled atmosphere that may form either very large specularly reflecting particles [2] or very compact, dense concentrations (>5x10(exp 6)/cu m) of 100-p particles

  15. Straylight analysis of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weigel, T.; Rugi-Grond, E.; Kudielka, K.

    2008-09-01

    The BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BELA) shall profile the surface of planet Mercury and operates on the day side as well as on the night side. Because of the high thermal loads, most interior surfaces of the front optics are highly reflective and specular, including the baffle. This puts a handicap on the straylight performance, which is needed to limit the solar background. We present the design measures used to reach an attenuation of about 10-8. We resume the method of backward straylight analysis which starts the rays at the detector and analyses the results in object space. The backward analysis can be quickly compiled and challenges computer resources rather than labor effort. This is very useful in a conceptual design phase when a design is iterated and trade-offs are to be performed. For one design, we compare the results with values obtained from a forward analysis.

  16. Participation in the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pettengil, Gordon H.; Ford, Peter

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument [1,2] carried aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, has observed strong echoes from cloud tops at 1.064 microns on 61% of its orbital passes over the winter north pole (235deg L(sub S), < 315deg) and on 58% of the passes over the winter south pole (45deg < L(sub S), < 135deg). The clouds are unlikely to be composed of water ice since the vapor pressure of H2O is very low at the Martian nighttime polar temperatures measured by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) [3], and by an analysis of MGS radio occultations [4]. Dust clouds can also be ruled out since no correlation is seen between clouds and global dust storms. The virtually certain composition for the winter polar clouds is CO2 ice.

  17. Laser altimeter observations from MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby.

    PubMed

    Zuber, Maria T; Smith, David E; Solomon, Sean C; Phillips, Roger J; Peale, Stanton J; Head, James W; Hauck, Steven A; McNutt, Ralph L; Oberst, Jürgen; Neumann, Gregory A; Lemoine, Frank G; Sun, Xiaoli; Barnouin-Jha, Olivier; Harmon, John K

    2008-07-01

    A 3200-kilometers-long profile of Mercury by the Mercury Laser Altimeter on the MESSENGER spacecraft spans approximately 20% of the near-equatorial region of the planet. Topography along the profile is characterized by a 5.2-kilometer dynamic range and 930-meter root-mean-square roughness. At long wavelengths, topography slopes eastward by 0.02 degrees , implying a variation of equatorial shape that is at least partially compensated. Sampled craters on Mercury are shallower than their counterparts on the Moon, at least in part the result of Mercury's higher gravity. Crater floors vary in roughness and slope, implying complex modification over a range of length scales. PMID:18599773

  18. Vertical roughness of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garvin, James B.; Frawley, James J.; Abshire, James B.

    The vertical roughness of the martian surface at ˜250 m spatial scales has been determined in two global latitude bands: an equatorial and a high northern band acquired from 18 tracks of data by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) during the Fall of 1997. The distribution of RMS vertical roughness, as derived from MOLA pulse widths, for the equatorial band is non-gaussian, with an overall mean of 2.8 m RMS, but with secondary populations at 1.5 m and 2-6 m RMS. The higher latitude northern plains of Mars are almost uniformly ˜1 m RMS in their vertical roughness characteristics, suggesting that they are smoother than virtually any terrestrial deserts. We suggest that dust mantling has muted the local topography of Mars, rendering it as smooth as 1-2 m RMS. Heavily cratered uplands near the martian equator are noticeably rougher, indicating more rugged and less-mantled local topography.

  19. In-Flight Performance of the Mercury Laser Altimeter Laser Transmitter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Sun, Xiaoli; Li, Steven X.; Cavanaugh, John F.; Neumann, Gregory A.

    2014-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of the payload instruments on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, which was launched on August 3, 2004. MLA maps Mercury's shape and topographic landforms and other surface characteristics using a diode-pumped solid-state laser transmitter and a silicon avalanche photodiode receiver that measures the round-trip time of individual laser pulses. The laser transmitter has been operating nominally during planetary flyby measurements and in orbit about Mercury since March 2011. In this paper, we review the MLA laser transmitter telemetry data and evaluate the performance of solid-state lasers under extended operation in a space environment.

  20. Remote sensing of atmospheric pressure and sea state from satellites using short-pulse multicolor laser altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, C. S.; Tsai, B. M.; Abshire, J. B.

    1983-01-01

    Short pulse multicolor laser ranging systems are currently being developed for satellite ranging applications. These systems use Q-switched pulsed lasers and streak tube cameras to provide timing accuracies approaching a few picoseconds. Satellite laser ranging systems was used to evaluate many important geophysical phenomena such as fault motion, polar motion and solid earth tides, by measuring the orbital perturbations of retroreflector equipped satellites. Some existing operational systems provide range resolution approaching a few millimeters. There is currently considerable interest in adapting these highly accurate systems for use as airborne and satellite based altimeters. Potential applications include the measurement of sea state, ground topography and atmospheric pressure. This paper reviews recent progress in the development of multicolor laser altimeters for use in monitoring sea state and atmospheric pressure.

  1. In-orbit Calibration of the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter Via Two-Way Laser Ranging with an Earth Station

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, X.; Barker, M. K.; Mao, D.; Marzarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Skillman, D. R.; Zagwodzki, T. W.; Torrence, M. H.; Mcgarry, J.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2014-12-01

    Orbiting planetary laser altimeters have provided critical data on such bodies as the Earth, Mars, the Moon, Mercury, and 433 Eros. The measurement accuracy of these instruments depends on accurate knowledge of not only the position and attitude of the spacecraft, but also the pointing of the altimeter with respect to the spacecraft coordinate system. To that end, we have carried out several experiments to measure post-launch instrument characteristics for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. In these experiments, the spacecraft points away from the Moon and scans the Earth in a raster pattern as the LOLA laser fires (the downlink) while a ground station on Earth fires its own laser to the spacecraft (the uplink). The downlink pulse arrival times and digitized waveforms are recorded at the ground station, the Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory in Greenbelt, MD, and the uplink arrival times and pulse widths are measured by LOLA. From early in the mission, the experiments have helped to confirm a pointing anomaly when LOLA is facing towards deep space or the cold side of the Moon. Under these conditions, the downlink data indicate a laser bore-sight pointing offset of about -400 and 100 microradians in the cross-track and along-track directions, respectively. These corrections are consistent with an analysis of LOLA ground-track crossovers spread throughout the mission to determine lunar tidal flexure. The downlink data also allow the reconstruction of the laser far-field pattern. From the uplink data, we estimate a correction to the receiver telescope nighttime pointing of ~140 microradians in the cross-track direction. By comparing data from such experiments shortly after launch and nearly 5 years later, we have directly measured the changes in the laser characteristics and obtained critical data to understand the laser behavior and refine the instrument calibration.

  2. The OSIRIS-REx laser altimeter (OLA): Development progress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daly, M.; Barnouin, O.; Johnson, C.; Bierhaus, E.; Seabrook, J.; Dickinson, C.; Haltigin, T.; Gaudreau, D.; Brunet, C.; Cunningham, G.; Lauretta, D.; Boynton, W.; Beshore, E.

    2014-07-01

    Introduction: The NASA New Frontiers Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission will be the first to sample the B-type asteroid (101955) Bennu [1]. This asteroid is thought to be primitive and carbonaceous, and is probably closely related to CI and/or CM meteorites [2]. The OSIRIS-REx mission hopes to better understand both the physical and geochemical origin and evolution of carbonaceous asteroids through its investigation of Bennu. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch in September 2016, and arrive at Bennu two years later. The Canadian Space Agency is contributing a scanning lidar system known as the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), to the OSIRIS-REx Mission. The OLA instrument is part of suite of onboard instruments [3] including cameras (OCAMS) [4], a visible and near- infrared spectrometer (OVIRS) [5], a thermal emission spectrometer (OTES), and an X-ray imaging spectrometer (REXIS) [6]. OLA Objectives: The OLA instrument has a suite of scientific and mission operations purposes. At a global scale, it will update the shape and mass of Bennu to provide insights on the geological origin and evolution of Bennu, by, for example, further refining constraints on its bulk density. With a carefully undertaken geodesy campaign, OLA-based precision ranges, constraints from radio science (2-way tracking) data and stereo OCAMS images, it will yield broad-scale, quantitative constraints on any internal heterogeneity of Bennu and hence provide further clues to Bennu's origin and subsequent collisional evolution. OLA-derived global asteroid maps of slopes, elevation relative to the asteroid geoid, and vertical roughness will provide quantitative insights on how local-regional surfaces on Bennu evolved subsequent to the formation of the asteroid. In addition, OLA data and derived products support the assessment of the safety and sampleability of potential sample sites. At the sample-site scale, the OLA instrument

  3. The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Laser Transmitter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Novo-Gradac, Anne Marie; Shaw, George B.; Unger, Glenn; Lukemire, Alan

    2008-01-01

    We present the final configuration of the space flight laser transmitter as delivered to the LOLA instrument. The laser consists of two oscillators with co-aligned outputs on a single bench, each capable of providing one billion plus shots.

  4. Laser Transmitter for the Lunar Orbit Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Instrument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Novo-Gradac, Anne-Marie; Shaw, George B.; Li, Steven X.; Krebs, Danny C.; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis A.; Unger, Glenn; Lukemire, Alan

    2008-01-01

    We present the final configuration of the space flight laser transmitter as delivered to the LOLA instrument. The laser consists of two oscillators on a single bench, each capable of providing one billion plus shots.

  5. The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Archive: Final Precision Experiment Data Record Release and Status of Radiometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, Gregory A.; Lemoine, F. G.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2003-01-01

    A final release (Version L) of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Precision Experiment Data Record (PEDR) has been submitted to the Planetary Data System (PDS). Additional gridded data record products are forthcoming. These products have evolved since their original description, owing in part to improved gravity modeling and cartographic reference frames, and in part to refinements in calibration. An additional component, the 1064 nm narrowband radiometry data, is also being archived. These data will be invaluable for future studies by Mars explorers and scientists.

  6. Modeling Laser Altimeter Return Waveforms Over Complex Vegetation Using High-Resolution Elevation Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Hofton, Michelle A.

    1999-01-01

    The upcoming generation of laser altimeters record the interaction of emitted laser radiation with terrestrial surfaces in the form of a digitized waveform. We model these laser altimeter return waveforms as the sum of the reflections from individual surfaces within laser footprints, accounting for instrument-specific properties. We compare over 1000 modeled and recorded waveform pairs using the Pearson correlation. We show that we reliably synthesize the vertical structure information for vegetation canopies contained in a medium-large diameter laser footprint from a high-resolution elevation data set.

  7. New Morphometric Measurements of Peak-Ring Basins on Mercury and the Moon: Results from the Mercury Laser Altimeter and Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, David M. H.; Head, James W.; Prockter, Louise M.; Fassett, Caleb I.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E.; Solomon, Sean C.; Zuber, Maria T.; Oberst, Juergen; Preusker, Frank; Gwiner, Klaus

    2012-01-01

    Peak-ring basins (large impact craters exhibiting a single interior ring) are important to understanding the processes controlling the morphological transition from craters to large basins on planetary bodies. New image and topography data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft have helped to update the catalogs of peak-ring basins on Mercury and the Moon [1,2] and are enabling improved calculations of the morphometric properties of these basins. We use current orbital altimeter measurements from the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) [3] and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) [4], as well as stereo-derived topography [5], to calculate the floor depths and peak-ring heights of peak-ring basins on Mercury and the Moon. We present trends in these parameters as functions of rim-crest diameter, which are likely to be related to processes controlling the onset of peak rings in these basins.

  8. Research Participation in the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pettengill, Gordon H.

    2003-01-01

    This report describes the tasks that have been completed by the Principal Investigator, Gordon Pettengill, and his team during the first year of this grant. Dr. Pettengill was assisted by Dr. Peter Ford and Ms. Joan Quigley. Our main task has been to analyze the polar clouds detected by MOLA (Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter) during the nominal mission of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) in 1999-2001 and to correlate the results with other data sets, in particular that from TES, the MGS thermal emission spectrometer. Starting with the Martian cloud database that we constructed prior to the start of this grant, we have examined all TES footprints that overlap MOLA clouds in time and space, correlating the thermal signature against specific categories that we assign to MOLA clouds on the basis of visual inspection. We are particularly interested in clouds in the region of "cold spots", areas of anomalously low thermal brightness temperature that have been detected in the polar winter by several instruments beginning with IRIS on Mariner 9. They are thought to indicate regions of active CO2 sublimation or snowfall, and it is hoped that MOLA measurements may tell us more about these regions.

  9. 3000 Mile Laser Altimeter Profile Across Northern Hemisphere of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Topographic profile across the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). The profile was obtained during the Mars Global Surveyor Capture Orbit Calibration Pass on September 15, 1997 and represents 20 minutes of data collection. The profile has a length of approximately 3000 miles (5000 kilometers). The large bulge is the western part of the Elysium rise, the second largest volcanic province on Mars, and shows over 3 miles (5 kilometers) of vertical relief. This area contains deep chasms that reflect tectonic, volcanic and erosional processes. In contrast is the almost 1featureless1 northern plains region of Mars, which shows only hundreds of meters of relief at scales the size of the United States. Plotted for comparison is the elevation of the Viking Lander 2 site, which is located 275 miles (445 kilometers) west of the profile. At the southernmost extent of the trace is the transition from the northern plains to the ancient southern highlands. Characterizing the fine-scale nature of topography in this chaotic region is crucial to testing theories for how the dichotomy between the geologically distinctive northern lowlands and southern uplands formed and subsequently evolved. The spatial resolution of the profile is approximately 1000 feet (330 meters) and the vertical resolution is approximately 3 feet (1 meter). When the Mars Global Surveyor mapping mission commences in March, 1998, the MOLA instrument will collect 72 times as much data every day for a period of two years.

  10. A Mars orbital laser altimeter for rover trafficability: Instrument concept and science potential

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Zuber, M. T.

    1988-01-01

    Limited information on the types of geologic hazards (boulders, troughs, craters etc.) that will affect rover trafficability on Mars are available for the two Viking Lander sites, and there are no prospects for increasing this knowledge base in the near future. None of the instrument payloads on the upcoming Mars Observer or Soviet PHOBOS missions can directly measure surface obstacles on the scales of concern for rover safety (a few meters). Candidate instruments for the Soviet Mars 92 orbiter/balloon/rover mission such as balloon-borne stereo imaging, rover panoramic imaging, and orbital synthetic aperature imaging (SAR) are under discussion, but data from this mission may not be available for target areas of interest for the U.S. Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission. In an effort to determine how to directly measure the topography of surface obstacles that could affect rover trafficability on Mars, we are studying how to design a laser altimeter with extremely high spatial and vertical resolution that would be suitable for a future Mars Orbiter spacecraft (MRSR precursor or MRSR orbiter). This report discusses some of the design issues associated with such an instrument, gives examples of laser altimeter data collected for Mars analog terrains on Earth, and outlines the scientific potential of data that could be obtained with the system.

  11. Northern Hemisphere Slopes from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aharonson, O.; Zuber, M. T.

    1998-12-01

    Slopes, slope distributions, and macroscale surface roughness in the northern hemisphere of Mars have been measured from topographic profiles collected by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) in the capture orbit, aerobraking hiatus and Science Phasing Orbit phases of the Mars Global Surveyor mission. The distribution function of slopes indicates that portions of the Martian surface fall into statistically distinct categories, distinguished by the histograms of both point-to-point slopes and of longer wavelength (10 and 100 km) slopes. Roughness correlates with elevation such that low regions tend to exhibit low roughness. Areas such as southern hemisphere highlands, dichotomy boundary terrains, and northern hemisphere lowlands all posses unique slope distribution signatures. The slope distribution within the Amazonis Planitia region, particularly member 3 of the Arcadia formation, displays an unusually smooth character. This region of anomalously low thermal inertia and low radar backscatter cross-section exhibits an rms variation in topography of <2 m over a 100-km baseline. Previous interpretations have suggested that this area is composed of accumulation of fine dust. Statistical comparison with other planetary surfaces of varying origin indicates that Amazonis most closely resembles in its smoothness the heavily sedimented surfaces on the Earth, i.e. oceanic abyssal plains and basins characterized by fluvial deposition. The smoothest measured volcanic surfaces as measured by altimetry on the Moon, Venus, and Mars are all significantly rougher than Amazonis. Saharan sand sheets are rougher by a factor of about three. Other regions in the Martian northern hemisphere that exhibit clear evidence of aeolian deposition are rougher than Amazonis as well.

  12. ALR - Laser altimeter for the ASTER deep space mission. Simulated operation above a surface with crater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Brum, A. G. V.; da Cruz, F. C.; Hetem, A., Jr.

    2015-10-01

    To assist in the investigation of the triple asteroid system 2001-SN263, the deep space mission ASTER will carry onboard a laser altimeter. The instrument was named ALR and its development is now in progress. In order to help in the instrument design, with a view to the creation of software to control the instrument, a package of computer programs was produced to simulate the operation of a pulsed laser altimeter with operating principle based on the measurement of the time of flight of the travelling pulse. This software Simulator was called ALR_Sim, and the results obtained with its use represent what should be expected as return signal when laser pulses are fired toward a target, reflect on it and return to be detected by the instrument. The program was successfully tested with regard to some of the most common situations expected. It constitutes now the main workbench dedicated to the creation and testing of control software to embark in the ALR. In addition, the Simulator constitutes also an important tool to assist the creation of software to be used on Earth, in the processing and analysis of the data received from the instrument. This work presents the results obtained in the special case which involves the modeling of a surface with crater, along with the simulation of the instrument operation above this type of terrain. This study points out that the comparison of the wave form obtained as return signal after reflection of the laser pulse on the surface of the crater with the expected return signal in the case of a flat and homogeneous surface is a useful method that can be applied for terrain details extraction.

  13. Comparison of Retracking Algorithms Using Airborne Radar and Laser Altimeter Measurements of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferraro, Ellen J.; Swift, Calvin T.

    1995-01-01

    This paper compares four continental ice sheet radar altimeter retracking algorithms using airborne radar and laser altimeter data taken over the Greenland ice sheet in 1991. The refurbished Advanced Application Flight Experiment (AAFE) airborne radar altimeter has a large range window and stores the entire return waveform during flight. Once the return waveforms are retracked, or post-processed to obtain the most accurate altitude measurement possible, they are compared with the high-precision Airborne Oceanographic Lidar (AOL) altimeter measurements. The AAFE waveforms show evidence of varying degrees of both surface and volume scattering from different regions of the Greenland ice sheet. The AOL laser altimeter, however, obtains a return only from the surface of the ice sheet. Retracking altimeter waveforms with a surface scattering model results in a good correlation with the laser measurements in the wet and dry-snow zones, but in the percolation region of the ice sheet, the deviation between the two data sets is large due to the effects of subsurface and volume scattering. The Martin et al model results in a lower bias than the surface scattering model, but still shows an increase in the noise level in the percolation zone. Using an Offset Center of Gravity algorithm to retrack altimeter waveforms results in measurements that are only slightly affected by subsurface and volume scattering and, despite a higher bias, this algorithm works well in all regions of the ice sheet. A cubic spline provides retracked altitudes that agree with AOL measurements over all regions of Greenland. This method is not sensitive to changes in the scattering mechanisms of the ice sheet and it has the lowest noise level and bias of all the retracking methods presented.

  14. Modeling Surface Structure Derived from Laser Altimeter Return Waveforms Using High-Resolution Elevation Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Hofton, M. A.

    1999-01-01

    The upcoming generation of operational spaceborne laser altimeters (i.e VCL and GLAS) record the interaction of emitted laser radiation with terrestrial surfaces in the form of a digitized waveform. We show that we can accurately model return laser altimeter waveforms as the sum of the reflections from individual surfaces within laser footprints. In one case, we predict return waveforms using high resolution elevation data generated by a small-footprint laser altimeter in a dense tropical forest. We compare over 3000 modeled and recorded waveform pairs using the Pearson correlation. The modeled and recorded waveforms are highly correlated, with a mean correlation of 0.90 and a median of 0.95. The mean correlation is highly dependent on the relative positions of the data sets. By shifting the relative locations of the two compared data sets, we infer that the data are colocated to within 0.4$\\sim$m horizontally and 0.12$\\sim$m vertically. The high degree of correlation shows that we can reliably synthesize the vertical structure information measured by medium-large footprint laser altimeters for complex, dense vegetation.

  15. Mercury's rotational state from combined MESSENGER laser altimeter and image data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stark, Alexander; Oberst, Jürgen; Preusker, Frank; Margot, Jean-Luc; Phillips, Roger J.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Solomon, Sean C.

    2016-04-01

    With orbital data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, we measured the rotational state of Mercury. We developed a novel approach that combined digital terrain models from stereo images (stereo DTMs) and laser altimeter data, and we applied it to 3 years of MESSENGER observations. We find a large libration amplitude, which in combination with the measured obliquity confirms that Mercury possesses a liquid outer core. Our results confirm previous Earth-based observations of Mercury's rotational state. However, we measured a rotation rate that deviates significantly from the mean resonant rotation rate. The larger rotation rate can be interpreted as the signature of a long-period libration cycle. From these findings we derived new constraints on the interior structure of Mercury. The measured rotational parameters define Mercury's body-fixed frame and are critical for the coordinate system of the planet as well as for planning the future BepiColombo spacecraft mission.

  16. MOLA Science Team A Mars' Year of Topographic Mapping with the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2001-01-01

    Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has operated at Mars for a full Mars year and provided a new geodetic and geophysical view of the planet. As the spacecraft enters into the Extended Mission, MOLA will concentrate its observations on the seasonal variability of the icecaps and martian clouds. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  17. Observations of Reflectivity of the Martian Surface in the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Investigation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ivanov, Anton B.; Muhleman, Duane O.

    2000-01-01

    We are presenting results of calculation of the surface albedo of Mars at 1 micron wavelength from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) reflectivity measurements. The Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (MGS TES) 9 micron opacity is employed to remove opacity from the MOLA measurements.

  18. Future Applications Using Return-Pulse Correlation from Imaging Laser Altimeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Hofton, Michelle A.; Rabine, David L.

    2000-01-01

    The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne, wide-swath, digitization-only laser altimeter capable of collecting full return waveforms (i.e. echoes) from laser footprints ranging in diameter from 1 to 80 m across up to a 1 km wide data swath. The return waveform can be used to enhance the accuracy of laser ranging and to provide information about the vertical structure of vegetation and topography within each laser footprint. Although extremely small laser footprints (< 1 0 cm diameter) generally return simple, impulse responses to their target surface, larger footprints typically exhibit complex returns representing the diverse vertical distributions of surfaces contained in each footprint. Only a handful of airborne and spaceborne laser altimeters record the return echo or return pulse that is reflected from the Earth's surface (i.e. NASA's LVIS, SLA, VCL, and GLAS laser altimeters). Waveforms are currently interpreted to extract a timing or ranging point or points to represent the mean ground elevation or the vertical height of vegetation. But, recent progress using pulse shape correlation techniques shows promise for a variety of science applications involving change detection of surface topography and vegetation as well as potential for improving data processing by correlating images or crossovers to solve systematic biases. We show example correlation images from LVIS and discuss instrument design implications and potential science applications.

  19. LASA (Lidar Atmospheric Sounder and Altimeter) Earth Observing System. Volume 2D: Instrument Panel Report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1987-01-01

    The Earth Observing System (Eos) will provide an ideal forum in which the stronly synergistic characteristics of the lidar systems can be used in concert with the characteristics of a number of other sensors to better understand the Earth as a system. Progress in the development of more efficient and long-lasting laser systems will insure their availability in the Eos time frame. The necessary remote-sensing techniques are being developed to convert the Lidar Atmospheric Sounder and Altimeter (LASA) observations into the proper scientific parameters. Each of these activities reinforces the promise that LASA and GLRS will be a reality in the Eos era.

  20. A digital elevation model of the Greenland ice sheet and validation with airborne laser altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bamber, Jonathan L.; Ekholm, Simon; Krabill, William B.

    1997-01-01

    A 2.5 km resolution digital elevation model (DEM) of the Greenland ice sheet was produced from the 336 days of the geodetic phase of ERS-1. During this period the altimeter was operating in ice-mode over land surfaces providing improved tracking around the margins of the ice sheet. Combined with the high density of tracks during the geodetic phase, a unique data set was available for deriving a DEM of the whole ice sheet. The errors present in the altimeter data were investigated via a comparison with airborne laser altimeter data obtained for the southern half of Greenland. Comparison with coincident satellite data showed a correlation with surface slope. An explanation for the behavior of the bias as a function of surface slope is given in terms of the pattern of surface roughness on the ice sheet.

  1. The 24 Million Kilometer Optical Link with the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coyle, Donald B.

    2006-01-01

    A recent experiment has been completed at NASA Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (GGAO) where an optical link has been achieved with the Mercury laser altimeter (MLA) instrument about the Messenger spacecraft on its way to Mercury. A pulsed laser source at 1 micron based on Earth has been recorded on MLA. Simultaneously, the spacecrafts altimeter has been properly aimed and laser pulses transmitted to earth where they were detected and recorded at the same facility. This optical link was used to calibrate and verify operation of the MLA instrument and onboard laser, as well as to gain valuable information with the methods and means of very long range optical communication pointing and receiving techniques. An overview of this experiment, the hardware, and data products will be presented.

  2. ICESat Laser Altimeter Pointing, Ranging and Timing Calibration from Integrated Residual Analysis: A Summary of Early Mission Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lutchke, Scott B.; Rowlands, David D.; Harding, David J.; Bufton, Jack L.; Carabajal, Claudia C.; Williams, Teresa A.

    2003-01-01

    On January 12, 2003 the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) was successfUlly placed into orbit. The ICESat mission carries the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), which consists of three near-infrared lasers that operate at 40 short pulses per second. The instrument has collected precise elevation measurements of the ice sheets, sea ice roughness and thickness, ocean and land surface elevations and surface reflectivity. The accurate geolocation of GLAS's surface returns, the spots from which the laser energy reflects on the Earth's surface, is a critical issue in the scientific application of these data Pointing, ranging, timing and orbit errors must be compensated to accurately geolocate the laser altimeter surface returns. Towards this end, the laser range observations can be fully exploited in an integrated residual analysis to accurately calibrate these geolocation/instrument parameters. Early mission ICESat data have been simultaneously processed as direct altimetry from ocean sweeps along with dynamic crossovers resulting in a preliminary calibration of laser pointing, ranging and timing. The calibration methodology and early mission analysis results are summarized in this paper along with future calibration activities

  3. Improvement of Europa's Gravity and Body Tides and Shape with a Laser Altimeter during a Flyby Tour

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mazarico, E.; Genova, A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2014-12-01

    Laser altimeters have been primarily utilized with orbiter spacecraft. Recently, the Mercury Laser Altimeter on MESSENGER successfully operated at Mercury during two flybys and thousands of highly-elliptical orbits, and contributed greatly towards improved understanding of the innermost planet. We show that a laser altimeter instrument on a flyby tour mission such as the planned NASA Europa Clipper can constrain key geophysical parameters when supported by variable-frequency altimetric measurements over repeated ~145°-long arcs across the surface. Previous work by Park et al. (2011, GRL) showed through covariance analysis that a similar trajectory could yield the gravity tidal Love number k2 to good accuracy (0.05). Here, we conduct a full simulation of a 45-flyby trajectory in the Jupiter system with Europa as primary target. We consider reasonable tracking coverage and noise level (dominated by plasma noise), as well as gravity (degree 50) and topography (200m resolution supplemented by realistic fractal noise at shorter wavelengths), informed by relevant existing data (Galileo, Cassini). The simulation is initialized at pessimistic values, with C20, C22, k2, and h2 in error of 90%, 90%, 50%, and 50%, respectively. All other gravity coefficients up to degree 3 have zero a priori values. Assumed altimetric data sampling and noise are derived from the tour trajectory and the instrument performance described by Smith et al. (this meeting). This variable-frequency laser altimeter can greatly improve the surface coverage (for shape recovery) and the number of altimetric crossovers, the best measurement type to constrain the tidal surface deformation. We find from our simulation that the addition of altimetry data significantly improves the determination of the gravity tidal Love number k2 and enables the recovery of the body tidal Love number h2. Low-degree gravity and topography are most important to constrain the interior structure of Europa. Scientific objectives

  4. The Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar: an Advanced Technology Airborne Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dabney, P.; Harding, D. J.; Huss, T.; Valett, S.; Yu, A. W.; Zheng, Y.

    2009-12-01

    The Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) is an airborne laser altimeter developed through the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program with a focus on cryopshere remote sensing. The SIMPL instrument incorporates a variety of advanced technologies in order to demonstrate measurement approaches of potential benefit for improved airborne laser swath mapping and spaceflight laser altimeter missions. SIMPL incorporates beam splitting, single-photon ranging and polarimetry technologies at green and near-infrared wavelengths in order to achieve simultaneous sampling of surface elevation, slope, roughness and scattering properties, the latter used to differentiate surface types. The transmitter is a 1 nsec pulse width, 11 kHz, 1064 nm microchip laser, frequency doubled to 532 nm and split into four plane-polarized beams using birefringent calcite crystal in order to maintain co-alignment of the two colors. The 16 channel receiver splits the received energy for each beam into the two colors and each color is split into energy parallel and perpendicular to the transmit polarization plane thereby proving a measure of backscatter depolarization. The depolarization ratio is sensitive to the proportions of specular reflection and surface and volume scattering, and is a function of wavelength. The ratio can differentiate, for example, water, young translucent ice, older granular ice and snow. The solar background count rate is controlled by spatial filtering using a pinhole array and by spectral filtering using temperature-controlled narrow bandwidth filters. The receiver is fiber coupled to 16 Single Photon Counting Modules (SPCMs). To avoid range biases due to the long dead time of these detectors the probability of detection per laser fire on each channel is controlled to be below 30%, using mechanical irises and flight altitude. Event timers with 0.1 nsec resolution in combination the narrow transmit pulse yields single

  5. Theoretical and experimental analysis of laser altimeters for barometric measurements over the ocean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsai, B. M.; Gardner, C. S.

    1984-01-01

    The statistical characteristics and the waveforms of ocean-reflected laser pulses are studied. The received signal is found to be corrupted by shot noise and time-resolved speckle. The statistics of time-resolved speckle and its effects on the timing accuracy of the receiver are studied in the general context of laser altimetry. For estimating the differential propagation time, various receiver timing algorithms are proposed and their performances evaluated. The results indicate that, with the parameters of a realistic altimeter, a pressure measurement accuracy of a few millibars is feasible. The data obtained from the first airborne two-color laser altimeter experiment are processed and analyzed. The results are used to verify the pressure measurement concept.

  6. Efficient Swath mapping Laser Altimeter Instrument Incubator Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, A. W.; Harding, D. J.; Krainak, M.; Abshire, J. B.; Sun, X.; Cavanaugh, J. F.; Valett, S. R.; Ramos-Izquierdo, L.; Instrument Development Team Of Swath Mapping Iip

    2010-12-01

    In this paper we will discuss our progress in a three-year Instrument Incubator Program (IIP) funded by NASA Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) on swath mapping laser altimetry system. The IIP began in 2009 and we are at the end of the second year. This paper will discuss the system approach, instrument development and enabling technologies for swath mapping laser altimetry. The IIP instrument development is to realize the mission goals and objectives of the Lidar Surface Topography (LIST) mission to simultaneous measure 5-m spatial resolution topography and vegetation vertical structure with decimeter vertical precision in an elevation-imaging swath several km wide from a 400 km altitude Earth orbit. To achieve the IIP goals, we are using a single laser to generate sixteen beams for mapping purpose. Backscatter from the surface is collected with a telescope and the spots from the swath are imaged onto a sensitive detector array. The output from each detector element is histogrammed and analyzed to determine ranges to the surface and derive echo waveforms that characterize the vertical structure of the surface. Multi-threshold signal processing technique allows for through-foliage interrogation in order to observe ground surface beneath vegetation cover and vegetation vertical structure. The approach is flexible and scalable in swath width, pixel width, laser power and telescope size. This work has considerable similarities and challenges as those faced by 3-D imaging laser radar (ladar) systems. In the 3rd year of this IIP, we plan to perform airborne demonstrations of the swath-mapping concept. We will leverage our recent experience on a micropulse lidar airplane demonstration, which was previously demonstrated on an ESTO funded IIP with a 1 µJ per beam, a 10 KHz laser, and a single-photon-threshold detector (Geiger-mode APD) based receiver. Our new lidar using micropulse photon-counting approach will demonstrate a laser with 100 µJ per beam, a 10 kHz pulse

  7. 14 CFR 91.411 - Altimeter system and altitude reporting equipment tests and inspections.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 14 Aeronautics and Space 2 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false Altimeter system and altitude reporting... reporting equipment tests and inspections. (a) No person may operate an airplane, or helicopter, in... system, each altimeter instrument, and each automatic pressure altitude reporting system has been...

  8. 14 CFR 91.411 - Altimeter system and altitude reporting equipment tests and inspections.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 14 Aeronautics and Space 2 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Altimeter system and altitude reporting... reporting equipment tests and inspections. (a) No person may operate an airplane, or helicopter, in... system, each altimeter instrument, and each automatic pressure altitude reporting system has been...

  9. Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Radiometry: Phase Functions and the Optical Depth of Nocturnal Water Ice Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Barker, M. K.; Sun, X.

    2014-12-01

    Over the course of more than 3 Mars years the MOLA instrument on board Mars Global Surveyor (from 1999 to the loss of MGS in Nov. 2006) obtained passive reflectance measurements of Mars at 1064 nm wavelength from the solar background. As an altimeter, the quantity of light removed from a laser beam by scattering or absorption during the roundtrip to the surface may be calculated knowing the energy returned, the surface geometric albedo and the instrument parameters for each laser shot. These opacity measurements indicate the combined effects of dust and condensates, particularly those seen during during the night. The measure of opacity, to optical depths exceeding unity, correlates well with daytime measurements by the Hubble Space Telescope and with the broadband Thermal Emission Spectrometer. Applying a simple phase function to passive radiometric observations obtained at emission angles varying from 0 to 80 degrees, upper and lower limits are obtained for atmospheric opacity as a function of season and time of day. The implications for the effects of nocturnal water ice clouds on radiative transfer, and for future applications to the detection of icy plumes from moons of the outer solar system will be discussed.

  10. 14 CFR 29.1325 - Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ... between air pressure in the static pressure system and true ambient atmospheric static pressure is not... 14 Aeronautics and Space 1 2013-01-01 2013-01-01 false Static pressure and pressure altimeter...: Installation § 29.1325 Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems. (a) Each instrument with static air...

  11. 14 CFR 29.1325 - Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... between air pressure in the static pressure system and true ambient atmospheric static pressure is not... 14 Aeronautics and Space 1 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Static pressure and pressure altimeter...: Installation § 29.1325 Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems. (a) Each instrument with static air...

  12. 14 CFR 29.1325 - Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... between air pressure in the static pressure system and true ambient atmospheric static pressure is not... 14 Aeronautics and Space 1 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false Static pressure and pressure altimeter...: Installation § 29.1325 Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems. (a) Each instrument with static air...

  13. 14 CFR 29.1325 - Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... between air pressure in the static pressure system and true ambient atmospheric static pressure is not... 14 Aeronautics and Space 1 2014-01-01 2014-01-01 false Static pressure and pressure altimeter...: Installation § 29.1325 Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems. (a) Each instrument with static air...

  14. 14 CFR 29.1325 - Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... between air pressure in the static pressure system and true ambient atmospheric static pressure is not... 14 Aeronautics and Space 1 2012-01-01 2012-01-01 false Static pressure and pressure altimeter...: Installation § 29.1325 Static pressure and pressure altimeter systems. (a) Each instrument with static air...

  15. Utility of laser altimeter and stereoscopic terrain models: Application to Martian craters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robbins, Stuart J.; Hynek, Brian M.

    2013-09-01

    The use of numerical datasets of the same type derived from remote sensing instruments is often treated as equivalent in value and utility, within the limits of their spatial resolution. Surface topography is a good example of this. We used gridded digital terrain models (DTMs) derived from both laser altimetry and stereo pairs as well as the original laser data points to quantify the topography of impact craters, which have well-studied morphometry. The primary purpose was to test the accuracy of laser data given an image-based DTM with approximately a factor of 10 better spatial resolution; we used the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter and High-Resolution Stereo Camera datasets for this work. We found that the ability to derive accurate topographic information in laser altimetry diminished well before the ability to visually resolve the feature in the dataset, but we also found that laser point and gridded data-based results were in good agreement down to their resolution limits. Relative to the image-based DTM, pixel-for-pixel, the laser data were more useful in their ability to visibly resolve the impact craters. This work has implications for remote sensing in general, but specifically the application to limited sources of data for planetary surface topography, such as Mercury where the northern hemisphere topography is being measured with a laser altimeter but the southern hemisphere topography is based only on stereo pairs.

  16. Recent Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Results and Implications for Site Selection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, J. W., III

    1999-06-01

    Analysis of data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has revealed important information about geological and geophysical processes on Mars that have a bearing on the scientific goals and objectives of future Mars orbiter and lander missions. Here we 1) summarize some preliminary scientific findings relevant to the goals and objectives of future Mars exploration that are also important for landing site selection and surface operations, and 2) show how MOLA data can be used in landing site analyses and engineering studies.

  17. Latest Results from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Solomon, Sean C.; Phillips, Roger J.; Head, James W.; Gavin, James B.; Frey, Herbert V.; Muhleman, Duane O.; Pettengill, Gordon H.; Zwally, H. Jay

    2000-01-01

    The first MOLA data were acquired in Sept. 1997 shortly after the arrival of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) at Mars and before the start of aerobraking. Subsequently, data were obtained during several months in the spring and summer of 1998. All these data were obtained over the northern hemisphere. At the beginning of March 1999 the mapping phase of the MGS mission began in the designed 400 km near circular, near polar orbit and MOLA began collecting continuous global data. By the end of 1999 MOLA had acquired over 250 million altimeter measurements of the radius of the planet at accuracies of the order of a few meters radially and about 100 meters horizontally. These observations revealed the detailed structure of the Martian surface, the form of the polar caps, as well as the shape of the planet. The early results provided a unique view of the north polar cap and subsequently of the south polar cap from which an estimate of the total volume of present-day surface water ice of 3.2 to 4.7 million cubic km was obtained. To obtain full coverage of the polar caps it was necessary for MOLA to be pointed off nadir approximately 20 degrees and on several occasions MGS has performed a roll maneuver to make these observations. It is hoped that these off-nadir observations of the central region of the cap (MGS only reaches to latitudes plus or minus 86.5) will assist in the detection of the seasonal deposition of CO2 since it is believed that these high latitudes regions may be the accumulation zone.

  18. A Long Distance Laser Altimeter for Terrain Relative Navigation and Spacecraft Landing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pierrottet, Diego F.; Amzajerdian, Farzin; Barnes, Bruce W.

    2014-01-01

    A high precision laser altimeter was developed under the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance (ALHAT) project at NASA Langley Research Center. The laser altimeter provides slant-path range measurements from operational ranges exceeding 30 km that will be used to support surface-relative state estimation and navigation during planetary descent and precision landing. The altimeter uses an advanced time-of-arrival receiver, which produces multiple signal-return range measurements from tens of kilometers with 5 cm precision. The transmitter is eye-safe, simplifying operations and testing on earth. The prototype is fully autonomous, and able to withstand the thermal and mechanical stresses experienced during test flights conducted aboard helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and Morpheus, a terrestrial rocket-powered vehicle developed by NASA Johnson Space Center. This paper provides an overview of the sensor and presents results obtained during recent field experiments including a helicopter flight test conducted in December 2012 and Morpheus flight tests conducted during March of 2014.

  19. Estimation of Ganymede's Topography, Rotation and Tidal Deformation - a Study of Synthetic Ganymede Laser Altimeter Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steinke, T.; Stark, A.; Steinbrügge, G.; Hussmann, H.; Oberst, J.

    2015-10-01

    We implement an iterative least-squares inversion routine to study the estimation of several dynamic Ganymede rotation parameters by laser altimetry. Based on spherical harmonic expansions of the global topography we use simulated Ganymede Laser Al-timeter observations representing the synthetic topography of the satellite. Besides the static topography we determine the dynamical parameters, such as the rotation rate, the amplitudes of physical librations, the spin pole orientation, and the tidal deformation. This parameters may strengthen implications for a liquid ocean beneath Ganymede's icy shell and, in addition, constrain geodetic frame parameters essential for various space-borne experiments.

  20. Improve the ZY-3 Height Accuracy Using Icesat/glas Laser Altimeter Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Guoyuan; Tang, Xinming; Gao, Xiaoming; Zhang, Chongyang; Li, Tao

    2016-06-01

    ZY-3 is the first civilian high resolution stereo mapping satellite, which has been launched on 9th, Jan, 2012. The aim of ZY-3 satellite is to obtain high resolution stereo images and support the 1:50000 scale national surveying and mapping. Although ZY-3 has very high accuracy for direct geo-locations without GCPs (Ground Control Points), use of some GCPs is still indispensible for high precise stereo mapping. The GLAS (Geo-science Laser Altimetry System) loaded on the ICESat (Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite), which is the first laser altimetry satellite for earth observation. GLAS has played an important role in the monitoring of polar ice sheets, the measuring of land topography and vegetation canopy heights after launched in 2003. Although GLAS has ended in 2009, the derived elevation dataset still can be used after selection by some criteria. In this paper, the ICESat/GLAS laser altimeter data is used as height reference data to improve the ZY-3 height accuracy. A selection method is proposed to obtain high precision GLAS elevation data. Two strategies to improve the ZY-3 height accuracy are introduced. One is the conventional bundle adjustment based on RFM and bias-compensated model, in which the GLAS footprint data is viewed as height control. The second is to correct the DSM (Digital Surface Model) straightly by simple block adjustment, and the DSM is derived from the ZY-3 stereo imaging after freedom adjustment and dense image matching. The experimental result demonstrates that the height accuracy of ZY-3 without other GCPs can be improved to 3.0 meter after adding GLAS elevation data. What's more, the comparison of the accuracy and efficiency between the two strategies is implemented for application.

  1. An Experiment to Detect Lunar Horizon Glow with the Lunar Orbit Laser Altimeter Laser Ranging Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Barker, Michael; Mazarico, Erwan; Neumann, Gregory A.; McClanahan, Timothy P.; Sun, Xiaoli

    2016-04-01

    Lunar horizon glow (LHG) was an observation by the Apollo astronauts of a brightening of the horizon around the time of sunrise. The effect has yet to be fully explained or confirmed by instruments on lunar orbiting spacecraft despite several attempts. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft carries the laser altimeter (LOLA) instrument which has a 2.5 cm aperture telescope for Earth-based laser ranging (LR) mounted and bore-sighted with the high gain antenna (HGA). The LR telescope is connected to LOLA by a fiber-glass cable to one of its 5 detectors. For the LGH experiments the LR telescope is pointed toward the horizon shortly before lunar sunrise with the intent of observing any forward scattering of sunlight due to the presence of dust or particles in the field of view. Initially, the LR telescope is pointed at the dark lunar surface, which provides a measure of the dark count, and moves toward the lunar limb so as to measure the brightness of the sky just above the lunar limb immediately prior to lunar sunrise. At no time does the sun shine directly into the LR telescope, although the LR telescope is pointed as close to the sun as the 1.75-degree field of view permits. Experiments show that the LHG signal seen by the astronauts can be detected with a four-second integration of the noise counts.

  2. Measuring tidal deformations by laser altimetry. A performance model for the Ganymede Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steinbrügge, G.; Stark, A.; Hussmann, H.; Sohl, F.; Oberst, J.

    2015-11-01

    Invaluable information about the interior of icy satellites orbiting close to the giant planets can be gained by monitoring the response of the satellite's surfaces to external tidal forces. Due to its geodetic accuracy, laser altimetry is the method of choice to measure time-dependent radial surface displacements from orbit. We present an instrument performance model with special focus on the capabilities to determine the corresponding tidal Love number h2 and apply the model to the Ganymede Laser Altimeter (GALA) on board of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE). Based on the instrument and spacecraft performance, we derive the range error and the measurement capabilities of the GALA instrument to determine the amplitude of the tide induced radial displacement of Ganymede's surface using the cross-over technique. We find that h2 of Ganymede can be determined with an accuracy of better than 2% by using data acquired during the nominal mission. Furthermore, we show that this accuracy is sufficient to confirm the presence of a putative subsurface water ocean and, additionally, to constrain the thickness of the overlaying ice shell to ± 20km.

  3. In situ timing and pointing verification of the ICESat altimeter using a ground-based system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Magruder, L.; Silverberg, E.; Webb, C.; Schutz, B.

    2005-11-01

    To provide validation of the ICESat laser altimeter time of measurement and geolocation, a ground-based technique was implemented at White Sands Space Harbor (WSSH), during the Laser 2a and 3a operational periods. The activities used an electro-optical detection system and a passive array of corner cube retro reflectors (CCR). The detectors and the CCRs were designed to provide an independent assessment of the laser footprint location, while the detectors also provide timing verification. This ground-based system unambiguously validated the elevation product time tag to 3 μsec +/- 1 μsec. In addition, the ground equipment provided in situ geolocations of the laser pulse. Comparing the in situ results to the ICESat GLA14 data product the positions differ by 10.6 m +/- 4.5 m for Laser 2a (Release 21) operations and 7.5 m +/- 6.6 m for Laser 3a (Release 23). These comparisons correlate to pointing validations at this site, for the specific overflight configurations.

  4. Two-color short-pulse laser altimeter measurements of ocean surface backscatter.

    PubMed

    Abshire, J B; McGarry, J F

    1987-04-01

    The timing and correlation properties of pulsed laser backscatter from the ocean surface have been measured with a two-color short-pulse laser altimeter. The Nd: YAG laser transmitted 70-and 35-ps wide pulses simultaneously at 532 and 355 nm at nadir, and the time-resolved returns were recorded by a receiver with 800-ps response time. The time-resolved backscatter measured at both 330- and 1291-m altitudes showed little pulse broadening due to the submeter laser spot size. The differential delay of the 355- and 532-nm backscattered waveforms were measured with a rms error of ~75 ps. The change in aircraft altitudes also permitted the change in atmospheric pressure to be estimated by using the two-color technique. PMID:20454319

  5. Evaluation of the TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter system over the Great Lakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, Charles S.; Gill, Stephen K.

    1994-01-01

    The TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter measurment system is evaluated for the first 46 repeat cycles (September 23, 1992-December 23, 1992) using tracks over the Great Lakes. The temporal variations in lake level are removed from the altimeter measurements using in-situ lake level measurements, thus permitting the performance of the altimeter system to be assessed. For the NASA altimeter, the root-mean-square (RMS) scatter of the residuals is 3.95 cm using all the tracks over the lakes. However, some of the scatter in this result is probably due to lake tides or seiche, which can amount to a few centimeters amplitude near the ends of the lakes. When the seven best tracks are used, which cross the center of the lakes where tides/seiche effects are minimal, the RMS error is included to either 2.9 or 3.0 cm, depending on whether the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) or NASA orbit is used. This places an upper limit on the error budget of the altimeter system, excluding ocean tides and inverse barometer effect. There are several short-period variations in the residuals. The most pronounced is a 55-day period, with a 1-cm amplitude, which we believe is (at least in part) due to orbit error. When the model-derived wet tropospheric correction is substituted for the TOPEX microwave radiometer correction, the RMS error increases significantly, possibly resulting in an annual cycle of a few centimeters. Evaluation of the ionospheric correction indicates that the dual-frequency correction provides an average improvement of 0.85 cm over the Doppler orbitography and radiopositioning integrated by satellite (DORIS) correction. Although there are insufficient data to directly assess the CNES altimeter, the relative bias between the altimeters is estimated to be either -14.3 or -15.6 cm (NASA altimeter measuring short), depending on whether the DORIS or dual-frequency ionospheric correction is applied to the NASA altimeter.

  6. Evolution of the Mars Northern Ice Cap and Results From the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muhleman, D. O.; Ivanov, A. B.

    1998-01-01

    Martian ice caps play an extremely important role in regulating climate of Mars. It is well known that they are acting as a reservoir for CO2 and maybe for water and dust. However, a reliable quantitative estimate of the balance or amount of volatiles inside the ice caps was never possible, because little data were available for this purpose. Here we will present initial results and analysis of topography data over the northern ice cap obtained by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) onboard Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). We interpret the observed shape of the ice caps as created by ablation due to sublimation of water ice.

  7. Polarimetric, Two-Color, Photon-Counting Laser Altimeter Measurements of Forest Canopy Structure

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harding, David J.; Dabney, Philip W.; Valett, Susan

    2011-01-01

    Laser altimeter measurements of forest stands with distinct structures and compositions have been acquired at 532 nm (green) and 1064 nm (near-infrared) wavelengths and parallel and perpendicular polarization states using the Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon Counting Lidar (SIMPL). The micropulse, single photon ranging measurement approach employed by SIMPL provides canopy structure measurements with high vertical and spatial resolution. Using a height distribution analysis method adapted from conventional, 1064 nm, full-waveform lidar remote sensing, the sensitivity of two parameters commonly used for above-ground biomass estimation are compared as a function of wavelength. The results for the height of median energy (HOME) and canopy cover are for the most part very similar, indicating biomass estimations using lidars operating at green and near-infrared wavelengths will yield comparable estimates. The expected detection of increasing depolarization with depth into the canopies due to volume multiple-scattering was not observed, possibly due to the small laser footprint and the small detector field of view used in the SIMPL instrument. The results of this work provide pathfinder information for NASA's ICESat-2 mission that will employ a 532 nm, micropulse, photon counting laser altimeter.

  8. A BP neural network model for sea state recognition using laser altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shi, Chun-bo; Jia, Xiao-dong; Li, Sheng; Wang, Zhen

    2009-07-01

    A BP neural network method for the recognition of sea state in laser altimeter is presented in this paper. Sea wave is the typical stochastic disturbance factor of laser altimeter effecting on low-altitude defense penetration of the intelligent antiship missiles, the recognition of sea state is studied in order to satisfy the practical needs of flying over the ocean. The BP neural network fed with the feature vector of laser range-measurement presents the analysis of features and outputs the estimation result of sea state. The two most distinguishing features are the mean and the variance of the sea echo, which are extracted from the distance characteristics of sea echo using general theory of statistics. The use of a feedforward network trained with the back-propagation algorithm is also investigated. The BP neural network is trained using sample data set to the neural network, and then the BP neural network trained is tested to recognize the sea state waiting for the classification. The network output shows the recognition accuracy of the model can up to 88%, and the results of tests show that the BP neural network model for the recognition of sea state is feasible and effective.

  9. NOSS altimeter algorithm specifications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hancock, D. W.; Forsythe, R. G.; Mcmillan, J. D.

    1982-01-01

    A description of all algorithms required for altimeter processing is given. Each description includes title, description, inputs/outputs, general algebraic sequences and data volume. All required input/output data files are described and the computer resources required for the entire altimeter processing system were estimated. The majority of the data processing requirements for any radar altimeter of the Seasat-1 type are scoped. Additions and deletions could be made for the specific altimeter products required by other projects.

  10. Laser network survey and orbit recovery. [altimeter evaluation in GEOS-C project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berbert, J. H.

    1974-01-01

    Simulations were performed for the anticipated GEOS-C laser network stations at Goddard, Bermuda, and Florida to predict how well survey and orbit will be recovered. Lasers were added one at a time at Grand Turk, Antigua, and Panama to estimate the contribution from these additional sites. Time tag biases of 50 microseconds, survey uncertainties of 10 meters in each coordinate, laser range biases and noise estimates of 20 cm each, and conventional gravity uncertainties were included in the simulations. The results indicate that survey can be recovered to about 1 meter and Grand Turk can be recovered better than Antigua or Panama. Reducing the probably pessimistic assumed time tag biases and gravity field uncertainties improves the results. Using these survey recovery estimates, the short arc GEOS-C satellite heights for altimeter intercomparison orbits can be recovered within the calibration area to better than the required two meters.

  11. The geoscience laser altimeter system (GLAS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Smith, James C.; Schutz, Bob E.

    1998-01-01

    GLAS is a space-based lidar designed for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise's Icesat Mission. It is being designed to precisely measure the heights of the polar ice sheets, to determine the height profiles of the Earth's land topography, and to profile the vertical structure of clouds and aerosols on a global scale. GLAS will fly on a small dedicated spacecraft in a polar orbit at 598 km altitude with an inclination of 94 degrees. The instrument is being developed to launch in July 2001 and to operate continuously at 40 Hz for a minimum of 3 years with a goal of 5 years.

  12. Performance of the NEAR laser altimeter at the asteroid 433 Eros after five years in space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, Timothy D.; Maurer, Richard H.; Kinnison, James D.

    2002-01-01

    After a 5-year mission, the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous-Shoemaker (NEAR) spacecraft made a controlled landing 12 February 2001 onto the asteroid, 433 Eros. Onboard the spacecraft, the NEAR Laser Rangefinder (NLR), a laser altimeter, gathered over 11 million measurements throughout 2000 and 2001, providing a spatially dense, high-resolution, topographical map of Eros. This instrument, launched in February 1996, was subjected to a constant, albeit, low radiation background predicted during the mission design phase to be 3 krad, cumulative, from solar protons at a shield depth of 1.8 mm aluminum. Using the onboard NLR calibration capability, and through extended observation of NLR measurement performance, the instrument exceeded requirements for this particular radiation environment. Electronic parts for the altimeter had been reviewed, assessed and screened, as necessary, for space quality and radiation hardness during its development. The NEAR mission included an excursion beyond Mars' orbit during its 4-year transit, followed by a one-year mission orbiting the near-Earth asteroid, 433 Eros, continuously collecting altimetry data. The majority of the data collection occurred during solar maximum and, in particular, operated without interruption through the events on Bastille Day, 14 July 2000 (comparable to the large October 1989 events of the previous solar maximum) and 10 November 2000. At Earth, the July 2000 proton level provided in a few days over half of the expected cumulative radiation, predicted through use of Feynman's model. Based on uneventful operation of the NEAR, including the absence of any degradation in solar array currents due to proton displacement damage and the nominal performance of the altimeter, it appears that the 14 July event did not intersect the NEAR location. The NLR-derived topographic data successfully enabled determination of Eros' shape, mass, and density contributing to the understanding the internal structure and collisional

  13. SIMPL Laser Altimeter Measurements of Lake Erie Ice Cover: a Pathfinder for ICESat-2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, D. J.; Dabney, P.; Valett, S. R.; Kelly, A.

    2010-12-01

    NASA’s ICESat-2 missions, scheduled for launch in 2015, will make measurements of ice sheet elevation change, sea ice thickness change and vegetation height using a micro-pulse, multi-beam laser altimeter employing single photon ranging at 532 nm (green). Lake Erie ice and snow cover data acquired in February 2009 by the Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) provides pathfinder information enabling improved understanding of this next-generation altimeter measurement approach. SIMPL is an airborne, multi-beam laser altimeter developed through the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program with a focus on cryopshere remote sensing. SIMPL operates at 532 nm and 1064 nm using a micropulse laser, achieving a ranging precision of 8 cm per single photon, and acquires reflected energy parallel and perpendicular to the transmit pulse polarization plane. Approximately 30,000 single photon returns per second are acquired from snow and ice at the nominal flight altitude of 8,000 ft. The resulting two-color information on surface and volume scattering properties enables differentiation of open water and ice types with varying optical properties. For open water, SIMPL data documents laser pulse penetration at 532 nm in the water column, relative to the surface defined by the 1064 nm data. And increasing amount of perpendicularly polarized light with depth relative to the parallel polarization, indicating an increasing fraction of multiply scattered photons, provides a measure of water column optical depth. The observed ice cover types (skim, nias, new grey ice, new grey-white ice) represent the early stages of sea ice formation. Differences in surface roughness and transparency of the ice types are indicated by the 532 nm and 1064 nm perpendicular/parallel depolarization ratio measures of the degree of multiple scattering. The understanding of laser pulse interactions with water, ice and snow using this first-of-its-kind data set

  14. High accuracy alignment facility for the receiver and transmitter of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Chakraborty, Sumita; Affolter, Michael; Gunderson, Kurt; Neubert, Jakob; Thomas, Nicolas; Beck, Thomas; Gerber, Michael; Graf, Stefan; Piazza, Daniele; Pommerol, Antoine; Roethlisberger, Guillaume; Seiferlin, Karsten

    2012-07-10

    The accurate co-alignment of the transmitter to the receiver of the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter is a challenging task for which an original alignment concept had to be developed. We present here the design, construction and testing of a large collimator facility built to fulfill the tight alignment requirements. We describe in detail the solution found to attenuate the high energy of the instrument laser transmitter by an original beam splitting pentaprism group. We list the different steps of the calibration of the alignment facility and estimate the errors made at each of these steps. We finally prove that the current facility is ready for the alignment of the flight instrument. Its angular accuracy is 23 μrad. PMID:22781273

  15. NASA's Operation Icebridge: Using Instrumented Aircraft to Bridge the Observational Gap Between Icesat and Icesat-2 Laser Altimeter Measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studinger, M.

    2014-12-01

    NASA's Operation IceBridge images Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. Operation IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, Operation IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of Earth's polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's ICESat satellite missions. Combined with previous aircraft observations, as well as ICESat, CryoSat-2 and the forthcoming ICESat-2 observations, Operation IceBridge will produce a cross-calibrated 17-year time series of ice sheet and sea-ice elevation data over Antarctica, as well as a 27-year time series over Greenland. These time series will be a critical resource for predictive models of sea ice and ice sheet behavior. In addition to laser altimetry, Operation IceBridge is using a comprehensive suite of instruments to produce a three-dimensional view of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and the sea ice. The suite includes two NASA laser altimeters, the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS); four radar systems from the University of Kansas' Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), a Ku-band radar altimeter, accumulation radar, snow radar and the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS); a Sander Geophysics airborne gravimeter (AIRGrav), a magnetometer and a high-resolution stereographic camera (DMS). Since its start in 2009, Operation IceBridge has deployed 8 geophysical survey aircraft and 19 science instruments. All IceBridge data is freely available from NSIDC (http://nsidc.org/data/icebridge) 6 months after completion of a campaign.

  16. The Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document for the Atmospheric Delay Correction to GLAS Laser Altimeter Ranges. Volume 8

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herring, Thomas A.; Quinn, Katherine J.

    2012-01-01

    NASA s Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) mission will be launched late 2001. It s primary instrument is the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument. The main purpose of this instrument is to measure elevation changes of the Greenland and Antarctic icesheets. To accurately measure the ranges it is necessary to correct for the atmospheric delay of the laser pulses. The atmospheric delay depends on the integral of the refractive index along the path that the laser pulse travels through the atmosphere. The refractive index of air at optical wavelengths is a function of density and molecular composition. For ray paths near zenith and closed form equations for the refractivity, the atmospheric delay can be shown to be directly related to surface pressure and total column precipitable water vapor. For ray paths off zenith a mapping function relates the delay to the zenith delay. The closed form equations for refractivity recommended by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) are optimized for ground based geodesy techniques and in the next section we will consider whether these equations are suitable for satellite laser altimetry.

  17. A Mars' Year of Topographic Mapping With The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2001-01-01

    Since the end of February 1999 the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has been mapping the planet continuously except for a 2 month period around solar conjunction in June 2000. At the end of January 2001 the Mars Global Surveyor Spacecraft (MGS) had completed its prime Mission, one Mars year of observing the planet, and begun the Extended Mission of slightly more than 14 months. MOLA will had acquired over 530 million altimetric measurements by early 2001, and continued to work perfectly. During the Extended Mission the main objective for MOLA will be observations of the seasonal variations in the locations and altitudes of clouds, the changes in the elevations of the polar icecaps due to the deposition and sublimation Of CO2, as well as supporting NASA's search for suitable future landing sites.

  18. Topography of the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Smith, D E; Zuber, M T; Frey, H V; Garvin, J B; Head, J W; Muhleman, D O; Pettengill, G H; Phillips, R J; Solomon, S C; Zwally, H J; Banerdt, W B; Duxbury, T C

    1998-03-13

    The first 18 tracks of laser altimeter data across the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft show that the planet at latitudes north of 50 degrees is exceptionally flat; slopes and surface roughness increase toward the equator. The polar layered terrain appears to be a thick ice-rich formation with a non-equilibrium planform indicative of ablation near the periphery. Slope relations suggest that the northern Tharsis province was uplifted in the past. A profile across Ares Vallis channel suggests that the discharge through the channel was much greater than previously estimated. The martian atmosphere shows significant 1-micrometer atmospheric opacities, particularly in low-lying areas such as Valles Marineris. PMID:9497281

  19. Brightening and Volatile Distribution Within Shackleton Crater Observed by the LRO Laser Altimeter.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Head, J. W.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E.; Torrence, M. H.; Aharonson, O.; Tye, A. R.; Fassett, C. I.; Rosengurg, M. A.; Melosh, H. J.

    2012-01-01

    Shackleton crater, whose interior lies largely in permanent shadow, is of interest due to its potential to sequester volatiles. Observations from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have enabled an unprecedented topographic characterization, revealing Shackleton to be an ancient, unusually well-preserved simple crater whose interior walls are fresher than its floor and rim. Shackleton floor deposits are nearly the same age as the rim, suggesting little floor deposition since crater formation over 3 billion years ago. At 1064 nm the floor of Shackleton is brighter than the surrounding terrain and the interiors of nearby craters, but not as bright as the interior walls. The combined observations are explainable primarily by downslope movement of regolith on the walls exposing fresher underlying material. The relatively brighter crater floor is most simply explained by decreased space weathering due to shadowing, but a 1-mm-thick layer containing approx 20% surficial ice is an alternative possibility.

  20. Estimates of the moon's geometry using lunar orbiter imagery and Apollo laser altimeter data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, R. L.

    1973-01-01

    Selenographic coordinates for about 6000 lunar points identified on the Lunar Orbiter photographs are tabulated and have been combined with those lunar radii derived from the Apollo 15 laser altimeter data. These coordinates were used to derive that triaxial ellipsoid which best fits the moon's irregular surface. Fits were obtaind for different constraints on both the axial orientations and the displacement of the center of the ellipsoid. The semiaxes for the unconstrained ellipsoid were a = 1737.6 km, b = 1735.6 km, and c = 1735.0 km which correspond to a mean radius of about 1736.1 km. These axes were found to be nearly parallel to the moon's principal axes of inertia, and the origin was displaced about 2.0 km from the moon's center of gravity in a direction away from the earth and to the south of the lunar equator.

  1. Topography of the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Frey, H. V.; Garvin, J. B.; Head, J. W.; Muhleman, D. O.; Pettengill, G. H.; Phillips, R. J.; Solomon, S. C.; Zwally, H. J.; Banerdt, W. B.; Duxbury, T. C.

    1998-01-01

    The first 18 tracks of laser altimeter data across the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft show that the planet at latitudes north of 50 degrees is exceptionally flat; slopes and surface roughness increase toward the equator. The polar layered terrain appears to be a thick ice-rich formation with a non-equilibrium planform indicative of ablation near the periphery. Slope relations suggest that the northern Tharsis province was uplifted in the past. A profile across Ares Vallis channel suggests that the discharge through the channel was much greater than previously estimated. The martian atmosphere shows significant 1-micrometer atmospheric opacities, particularly in low-lying areas such as Valles Marineris.

  2. MGS Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) - Mars/Earth Relief Comparison

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Comparison of the cross-sectional relief of the deepest portion of the Grand Canyon (Arizona) on Earth versus a Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) view of a common type of chasm on Mars in the western Elysium region. The MOLA profile was collected during the Mars Global Surveyor Capture Orbit Calibration Pass on September 15, 1997. The Grand Canyon topography is shown as a trace with a measurement every 295 feet (90 meters) along track, while that from MOLA reflects measurements about every 970 feet (400 meters) along track. The slopes of the steep inner canyon wall of the Martian feature exceed the angle of repose, suggesting relative youth and the potential for landslides. The inner wall slopes of the Grand Canyon are less than those of the Martian chasm, reflecting the long period of erosion necessary to form its mile-deep character on Earth.

  3. Shape of the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.; Phillips, Roger J.; Solomon, Sean C.; Banerdt, W. Bruce; Neumann, Gregory A.; Aharonson, Oded

    1998-12-01

    Eighteen profiles of ˜N-S-trending topography from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) are used to analyze the shape of Mars' northern hemisphere. MOLA observations show smaller northern hemisphere flattening than previously thought. The hypsometric distribution is narrowly peaked with >20% of the surface lying within 200 m of the mean elevation. Low elevation correlates with low surface roughness, but the elevation and roughness may reflect different mechanisms. Bouguer gravity indicates less variability in crustal thickness and/or lateral density structure than previously expected. The 3.1-km offset between centers of mass and figure along the polar axis results in a pole-to-equator slope at all longitudes. The N-S slope distribution also shows a subtle longitude-dependent variation that may represent the antipodal effect of the formation of Tharsis.

  4. Opacity of the Martian atmosphere from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanov, Anton B.; Muhleman, Duane O.

    1998-12-01

    In this paper we present an analysis of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) reflectivity measurements from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, during period of solar longitudes (Ls) 198° → 212°. Reflectivity can be interpreted as a product of the surface geometrical albedo and the two-way atmospheric transmission. Relative surface albedos were obtained from the red filter of Viking Color Mars Digital Mosaics (MDIM) to derive opacities at the MOLA wavelength (1.064 µm). Opacity measurements are interpreted in terms of atmospheric aerosol loading in the canyons. We also observed sudden increase of opacity in the northern regions (65°N), which we interpret as condensing ice clouds.

  5. Regional Elevations in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars From the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Frey, H. V.; Garvin, J. B.; Head, J. W.; Muhleman, D. O.; Neumann, G. A.; Pettengill, G. H.; Phillips, R. J.; Solomon, S. C.

    1999-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) is an instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft that is currently providing the first high vertical and spatial resolution topographic measurements of surface elevations on Mars. The shot size in the mapping orbit is about 100 m and the shot-to-shot spacing is 330 m. The instrument has a vertical precision of 37.5 cm and a vertical accuracy that depends on the radial accuracy of the MGS orbit that is currently in the range 5-30 km. The initial focus on observations in the nominal mapping mission will be on the southern hemisphere, which was not sampled during the MGS aerobraking hiatus and Science Phasing orbits. During the first several weeks of global mapping there will be emphasis on producing a digital terrain model (DTM) of the Mars '98 landing site.

  6. Global Geometric Properties of Martian Impact Craters: A Preliminary Assessment Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Schnetzler, C.; Frawley, J. J.

    1999-01-01

    Impact craters on Mars have been used to provide fundamental insights into the properties of the martian crust, the role of volatiles, the relative age of the surface, and on the physics of impact cratering in the Solar System. Before the three-dimensional information provided by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument which is currently operating in Mars orbit aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), impact features were characterized morphologically using orbital images from Mariner 9 and Viking. Fresh-appearing craters were identified and measurements of their geometric properties were derived from various image-based methods. MOLA measurements can now provide a global sample of topographic cross-sections of martian impact features as small as approx. 2 km in diameter, to basin-scale features. We have previously examined MOLA cross-sections of Northern Hemisphere and North Polar Region impact features, but were unable to consider the global characteristics of these ubiquitous landforms. Here we present our preliminary assessment of the geometric properties of a globally-distributed sample of martian impact craters, most of which were sampled during the initial stages of the MGS mapping mission (i.e., the first 600 orbits). Our aim is to develop a framework for reconsidering theories concerning impact cratering in the martian environment. This first global analysis is focused upon topographically-fresh impact craters, defined here on the basis of MOLA topographic profiles that cross the central cavities of craters that can be observed in Viking-based MDIM global image mosaics. We have considered crater depths, rim heights, ejecta topologies, cross-sectional "shapes", and simple physical models for ejecta emplacement. To date (May, 1999), we have measured the geometric properties of over 1300 impact craters in the 2 to 350 km diameter size interval. A large fraction of these measured craters were sampled with cavity-center cross-sections during the first

  7. Precise Orbit Determination for GEOSAT Follow-On Using Satellite Laser Ranging Data and Intermission Altimeter Crossovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, Frank G.; Rowlands, David D.; Luthcke, Scott B.; Zelensky, Nikita P.; Chinn, Douglas S.; Pavlis, Despina E.; Marr, Gregory

    2001-01-01

    The US Navy's GEOSAT Follow-On Spacecraft was launched on February 10, 1998 with the primary objective of the mission to map the oceans using a radar altimeter. Following an extensive set of calibration campaigns in 1999 and 2000, the US Navy formally accepted delivery of the satellite on November 29, 2000. Satellite laser ranging (SLR) and Doppler (Tranet-style) beacons track the spacecraft. Although limited amounts of GPS data were obtained, the primary mode of tracking remains satellite laser ranging. The GFO altimeter measurements are highly precise, with orbit error the largest component in the error budget. We have tuned the non-conservative force model for GFO and the gravity model using SLR, Doppler and altimeter crossover data sampled over one year. Gravity covariance projections to 70x70 show the radial orbit error on GEOSAT was reduced from 2.6 cm in EGM96 to 1.3 cm with the addition of SLR, GFO/GFO and TOPEX/GFO crossover data. Evaluation of the gravity fields using SLR and crossover data support the covariance projections and also show a dramatic reduction in geographically-correlated error for the tuned fields. In this paper, we report on progress in orbit determination for GFO using GFO/GFO and TOPEX/GFO altimeter crossovers. We will discuss improvements in satellite force modeling and orbit determination strategy, which allows reduction in GFO radial orbit error from 10-15 cm to better than 5 cm.

  8. Performance Assessment of the Mercury Laser Altimeter on MESSENGER from Mercury Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Cavanaugh, John F.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Mazarico, Edward M.

    2009-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of seven instruments on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft,a mission in NASA's Discovery Program. MESSENGER was launched on August 3, 2004, and entered into orbit about Mercury on March 29, 2011. As of June 30, 2011 MLA started to collect science Measurements on March 29, 2011. As of June 30, 2011 MLA had accumulated about 3 million laser ranging measurements to the Mercury surface through one Mercury year, i.e ., one complete cycle of the spacecraft thermal environment. The average MLA laser output-pulse energy remained steady despite the harsh thermal environment, in which the laser bench temperature changed by as much as 15 C over a 35 min operating period . The laser beam-collimating telescope experienced a 30 C temperature swing over the same period, and the thermal cycling repeated every 12 hours. Nonetheless, MLA receiver optics appeared to be aligned and in focus throughout these temperature excursions. The maximum ranging distance of MLA was 1500 km at near-zero laser-beam incidence angle (and emission angle) and 600 km at 60 deg incidence angle. The MLA instrument performance in Mercury orbit has been consistent with the performance demonstrated during MESSENGER's Mercury flybys in January and October 2008 and during pre-launch testing. In addition to range measurements, MLA data are being used to estimate the surface reflectance of Mercury at 1064 nm wavelength, including regions of permanent shadow on the floors of polar craters. MLA also provides a measurement of the surface reflectance of sunlight at 1064 nm wavelength by its noise counters, for which output is a monotonic function of the background light.

  9. MARA (Multimode Airborne Radar Altimeter) system documentation. Volume 1: MARA system requirements document

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parsons, C. L. (Editor)

    1989-01-01

    The Multimode Airborne Radar Altimeter (MARA), a flexible airborne radar remote sensing facility developed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, is discussed. This volume describes the scientific justification for the development of the instrument and the translation of these scientific requirements into instrument design goals. Values for key instrument parameters are derived to accommodate these goals, and simulations and analytical models are used to estimate the developed system's performance.

  10. A High-altitude, Advanced-technology Scanning Laser Altimeter for the Elevation for the Nation Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, D. J.

    2007-12-01

    In January of this year the National Research Council's Committee on Floodplain Mapping Technologies recommended to Congress that an Elevation for the Nation program be initiated to enable modernization of the nation's floodplain maps and to support the many other nationwide programs reliant on high-accuracy elevation data. Their recommendation is to acquire a national, high-resolution, seamless, consistent, public-domain, elevation data set created using airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM). Although existing commercial ALSM assets can acquire elevation data of sufficient accuracy, achieving nationwide consistency in a cost-effective manner will be a challenge employing multiple low-flying commercial systems conducting local to regional mapping. This will be particularly true in vegetated terrain where reproducible measurements of ground topography and vegetation structure are required for change-detection purposes. An alternative approach using an advanced technology, wide-swath, high-altitude laser altimeter is described here, based on the Swath Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) under development via funding from NASA's Instrument Incubator Program. The approach envisions a commercial, federal agency and state partnership, with the USGS providing program coordination, NASA implementing the advanced technology instrumentation, the commercial sector conducting data collection and processing and states defining map product requirements meeting their specific needs. An Instrument Synthesis and Analysis (ISAL) study conducted at Goddard Space Flight Center evaluated an instrument compliment deployed on a long-range Gulfstream G550 platform operating at 12 km altitude. The English Electric Canberra is an alternative platform also under consideration. Instrumentation includes a scanning, multi-beam laser altimeter that maps a 10 km wide swath, IMU and Star Trackers for attitude determination, JPL's Global Differential GPS implementation for

  11. Precise Orbit Determination for GEOSAT Follow-On Using Satellite Laser Ranging Data and Intermission Altimeter Crossovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, F. G.; Rowlands, D. D.; Luthcke, S. B.; Zelensky, N. P.; Chinn, D. S.; Pavlis, D. E.; Marr, G. C.

    2001-01-01

    The U.S. Navy's GEOSAT Follow-On Spacecraft was launched on February 10, 1998 and the primary objective of the mission was to map the oceans using a radar altimeter. Following an extensive set of calibration campaigns in 1999 and 2000, the US Navy formally accepted delivery of the satellite on November 29, 2000. The spacecraft is tracked by satellite laser ranging (SLR) and Doppler (Tranet-style) beacons. Although a limited amount of GPS data were obtained, the primary mode of tracking remains satellite laser ranging. In this paper, we report on progress in orbit determination for GFO using GFO/GFO and TOPEX/GFO altimeter crossovers. We have tuned the nonconservative force model for GFO and the gravity model using SLR, Doppler and altimeter crossover data spanning over one year. Preliminary results show that the predicted radial orbit error from the gravity field covariance to 70x70 on GEOSAT was reduced from 2.6 cm in EGM96 to 1.9 cm with the addition of only five months of the GFO SLR and GFO/GFO crossover data. Further progress is possible with the addition of more data, particularly the TOPEX/GFO crossovers. We will evaluate the tuned GFO gravity model (a derivative of EGM96) using altimeter data from the GEOSAT mission. In January 2000, a limited quantity of GPS data were obtained. We will use these GPS data in conjunction with the SLR and altimeter crossover data obtained over the same time span to compute quasi-reduced dynamic orbits which will also aid in the evaluation of the tuned GFO geopotential model.

  12. Detection of the lunar body tide by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    PubMed Central

    Mazarico, Erwan; Barker, Michael K; Neumann, Gregory A; Zuber, Maria T; Smith, David E

    2014-01-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft collected more than 5 billion measurements in the nominal 50 km orbit over ∼10,000 orbits. The data precision, geodetic accuracy, and spatial distribution enable two-dimensional crossovers to be used to infer relative radial position corrections between tracks to better than ∼1 m. We use nearly 500,000 altimetric crossovers to separate remaining high-frequency spacecraft trajectory errors from the periodic radial surface tidal deformation. The unusual sampling of the lunar body tide from polar lunar orbit limits the size of the typical differential signal expected at ground track intersections to ∼10 cm. Nevertheless, we reliably detect the topographic tidal signal and estimate the associated Love number h2 to be 0.0371 ± 0.0033, which is consistent with but lower than recent results from lunar laser ranging. Key Points Altimetric data are used to create radial constraints on the tidal deformationThe body tide amplitude is estimated from the crossover dataThe estimated Love number is consistent with previous estimates but more precise PMID:26074646

  13. Airborne Polarimetric, Two-Color Laser Altimeter Measurements of Lake Ice Cover: A Pathfinder for NASA's ICESat-2 Spaceflight Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harding, David; Dabney, Philip; Valett, Susan; Yu, Anthony; Vasilyev, Aleksey; Kelly, April

    2011-01-01

    The ICESat-2 mission will continue NASA's spaceflight laser altimeter measurements of ice sheets, sea ice and vegetation using a new measurement approach: micropulse, single photon ranging at 532 nm. Differential penetration of green laser energy into snow, ice and water could introduce errors in sea ice freeboard determination used for estimation of ice thickness. Laser pulse scattering from these surface types, and resulting range biasing due to pulse broadening, is assessed using SIMPL airborne data acquired over icecovered Lake Erie. SIMPL acquires polarimetric lidar measurements at 1064 and 532 nm using the micropulse, single photon ranging measurement approach.

  14. Two-color, Polarimetric Laser Altimeter Measurements of Forest Canopy Structure and Composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dabney, P.; Yu, A. W.; Harding, D. J.; Valett, S. R.; Hicks, E.; Shuman, C. A.; Vasilyev, A. A.

    2010-12-01

    Over the past decade lidar remote sensing has proven to be a highly effective method for characterization of forest canopy structure and estimation of biomass stocks. However, traditional measurements only provide information on the vertical distribution of surfaces without ability to differentiate surface types. Also, an unresolved aspect of traditional measurements is the contribution of within-canopy multiple scattering to the lidar profiles of canopy structure. Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) data was acquired in July and August, 2010 for three sites with well-characterized forest structure in order to address these issues. SIMPL is an airborne, four-beam laser altimeter developed through the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program. It acquires single-photon laser ranging data at 532 and 1064 nm, recording range-resolved measurements of reflected energy parallel and perpendicular to the transmit pulse polarization plane. Prior work with a non-ranging, multi-wavelength laser polarimetry demonstrated differentiation of tree species types based on depolarization differences related to surface and volume multiple scattering at the leaf scale. By adding the ranging component, SIMPL provides a means to investigate the vertical and horizontal distribution of optical scattering properties to better understand the interaction of pulsed laser energy with the foliage, stem and branch components of forest canopies. Data were acquired for the deciduous forest cover at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland and mixed deciduous and pine cover in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, two sites being used by the ICESat-2 project to assess micropulse, single-photon measurements of forest canopies. A third site, in the Huron National Forest in Michigan, has had diverse forest silviculture management practices applied to pine stands. The contrasts in forest stands between these sites will be used to illustrate

  15. Observations of reflectivity of the Martian surface in the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter investigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanov, A. B.; Muhleman, D. O.

    1999-09-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) is an instrument on board the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft. The laser operates at the 1.064 micron wavelength. MOLA measures range to the planet's surface, reflectivity and returned pulse width. Reflectivity (R) is a ratio of the returned energy to the emitted energy. It can be interpreted as a product of albedo (A) of the Martian surface and two-way atmospheric transmission ( R = A * e({) -2 tau }), where tau is total atmospheric opacity. Attenuation of the MOLA signal in the atmosphere is only due to extinction of photons from the laser beam. There are practically no photons scattered into the laser beam. This allows us a very straightforward calculation of albedo, given the opacity of the atmosphere. At the same time the MGS Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) was performing measurements of opacity at 9 micron wavelength (Smith et al., 1999). We propose to use these opacities to calculate albedo of the Martian surface from MOLA observations. Appropriate scaling should be applied to TES 9 micron opacity to scale it to the 1.064 micron wavelength, where MOLA operates. This scaling depends on the assumed particle size distribution of dust, suspended in the atmosphere. We will investigate the effect of this assumption on our final albedo results. MOLA has performed measurements of reflectivity during Science Phasing (L_s = 300 - 7) and Mapping (L_s = 103-170) orbits. We will concentrate our albedo calculations on reflectivities obtained by MOLA during the mapping orbit in the darker regions of Mars (Chryse Planitia, North Polar Dune fields). The resulting albedo dataset can then used to estimate the opacity during the Science Phasing Orbit period. References. Smith M.D. et al., Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) observations of dust opacity during aerobraking and science phasing, submitted to JGR-Planets, 1999

  16. Lunar Phase Function in the Near-Infrared from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barker, M. K.; Mazarico, E.; Sun, X.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Lucey, P. G.; Torrence, M. H.

    2014-12-01

    The reflectance of the lunar surface as a function of wavelength and viewing geometry is a fundamental measurement related to the scattering properties of the regolith particles and the structure of the surface. In this study, we report preliminary results on the near-infrared phase function observed with the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Since December 2013, LOLA has been collecting passive radiometry (reflected sunlight) in the northern hemisphere where the spacecraft altitude is too high for normal altimetric ranging. In this mode, LOLA acts as a 4-pixel radiometer with pixel size ~60 m, integration time of 1/28th sec (every ~60 m along-track), and signal-to-noise ratio ~50 per pixel in a single "exposure" at low latitudes. We report on the passive radiometric calibration, and compare the LOLA near-infrared phase function to that at similar and smaller wavelengths measured with other instruments. The unique capability of LOLA to also actively measure the normal albedo from the received pulse energies during altimetric ranging provides a crucial anchor point for the passively-derived phase function that is not easily obtained with typical imagers. Finally, we explore what constraints can be placed on the parameters of physically-motivated phase function models. This work will ultimately provide insight on the wavelength dependence of the phase function, for which the theoretical understanding is presently incomplete.

  17. Mercury's rotational parameters from MESSENGER image and laser altimeter data: A feasibility study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stark, Alexander; Oberst, Jürgen; Preusker, Frank; Gwinner, Klaus; Peale, Stanton J.; Margot, Jean-Luc; Phillips, Roger J.; Zuber, Maria T.; Solomon, Sean C.

    2015-11-01

    A novel method has been developed to determine the rotational parameters of Mercury from data acquired by the MESSENGER spacecraft. We exploit the complementarity of laser altimeter tracks taken at different rotational phases and rigid stereo terrain models to determine a Mercury rotational model. In particular, we solve for the orientation of the spin axis, the rotation rate, and the amplitude of the forced libration. In this paper, we verify the proposed method and carry out an extensive simulation of MESSENGER data acquisition with assumed rotational parameters. To assess the uncertainty in the rotational parameters we use mission-typical assumptions for spacecraft attitude and position knowledge as well as for small-scale terrain morphology. We find that the orientation of the spin axis and the libration amplitude can be recovered with an accuracy of a few arc seconds from three years of MESSENGER orbital observations. The rotation rate can be determined to within 5 arc seconds per year. The method developed here serves as a framework for the ongoing analysis of data from the MESSENGER spacecraft. The rotational parameters of Mercury hold important constraints on the internal structure and evolution of the planet.

  18. Topographic roughness of the northern high latitudes of Mercury from MESSENGER Laser Altimeter data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fa, Wenzhe; Cai, Yuzhen; Xiao, Zhiyong; Tian, Wei

    2016-04-01

    We investigated topographic roughness for the northern hemisphere (>45°N) of Mercury using high-resolution topography data acquired by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) on board the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft. Our results show that there are distinct differences in the bidirectional slope and root-mean-square (RMS) height among smooth plains (SP), intercrater plains (ICP), and heavily cratered terrain (HCT), and that the ratios of the bidirectional slope and RMS height among the three geologic units are both about 1:2:2.4. Most of Mercury's surface exhibits fractal-like behavior on the basis of the linearity in the deviograms, with median Hurst exponents of 0.66, 0.80, and 0.81 for SP, ICP, and HCT, respectively. The median differential slope map shows that smooth plains are smooth at kilometer scale and become rough at hectometer scale, but they are always rougher than lunar maria at the scales studied. In contrast, intercrater plains and heavily cratered terrain are rough at kilometer scale and smooth at hectometer scale, and they are rougher than lunar highlands at scale <˜2 km but smoother at >˜2 km. We suggest that these scale-dependent roughness characteristics are mainly caused by the difference in density and shape of impact craters between Mercury and the Moon.

  19. A new lunar digital elevation model from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter and SELENE Terrain Camera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barker, M. K.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Zuber, M. T.; Haruyama, J.; Smith, D. E.

    2016-07-01

    We present an improved lunar digital elevation model (DEM) covering latitudes within ±60°, at a horizontal resolution of 512 pixels per degree (∼60 m at the equator) and a typical vertical accuracy ∼3 to 4 m. This DEM is constructed from ∼ 4.5 ×109 geodetically-accurate topographic heights from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, to which we co-registered 43,200 stereo-derived DEMs (each 1° × 1°) from the SELENE Terrain Camera (TC) (∼1010 pixels total). After co-registration, approximately 90% of the TC DEMs show root-mean-square vertical residuals with the LOLA data of <5 m compared to ∼ 50% prior to co-registration. We use the co-registered TC data to estimate and correct orbital and pointing geolocation errors from the LOLA altimetric profiles (typically amounting to <10 m horizontally and <1 m vertically). By combining both co-registered datasets, we obtain a near-global DEM with high geodetic accuracy, and without the need for surface interpolation. We evaluate the resulting LOLA + TC merged DEM (designated as "SLDEM2015") with particular attention to quantifying seams and crossover errors.

  20. An Overview of the Topography of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2000-01-01

    The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft has now completed more than half of its one-Mars-year mission to globally map Mars. During the MGS elliptical and circular orbit mapping phases, the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument on the MGS payload, has collected over 300 million precise elevation measurements. MOLA measures the range from the MGS spacecraft to the Martian surface and to atmospheric reflections. Range is converted to topography through knowledge of the MGS spacecraft orbit. Ranges from MOLA have resulted in a precise global topographic map of Mars. The instrument has also provided measurements of the width of the backscattered optical pulse and of the 1064 nm reflectivity of the Martian surface and atmosphere. The range resolution of the MOLA instrument is 37.5 cm and the along-track resolution of MOLA ground shots is approx. 300 m; the across-track spacing depends on latitude and time in the mapping orbit. The best current topographic grid has a spatial resolution of approx. 1/16 deg and vertical accuracy of approx. one meter. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  1. Observations of the north polar region of Mars from the Mars orbiter laser altimeter.

    PubMed

    Zuber, M T; Smith, D E; Solomon, S C; Abshire, J B; Afzal, R S; Aharonson, O; Fishbaugh, K; Ford, P G; Frey, H V; Garvin, J B; Head, J W; Ivanov, A B; Johnson, C L; Muhleman, D O; Neumann, G A; Pettengill, G H; Phillips, R J; Sun, X; Zwally, H J; Banerdt, W B; Duxbury, T C

    1998-12-11

    Elevations from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) have been used to construct a precise topographic map of the martian north polar region. The northern ice cap has a maximum elevation of 3 kilometers above its surroundings but lies within a 5-kilometer-deep hemispheric depression that is contiguous with the area into which most outflow channels emptied. Polar cap topography displays evidence of modification by ablation, flow, and wind and is consistent with a primarily H2O composition. Correlation of topography with images suggests that the cap was more spatially extensive in the past. The cap volume of 1.2 x 10(6) to 1.7 x 10(6) cubic kilometers is about half that of the Greenland ice cap. Clouds observed over the polar cap are likely composed of CO2 that condensed out of the atmosphere during northern hemisphere winter. Many clouds exhibit dynamical structure likely caused by the interaction of propagating wave fronts with surface topography. PMID:9851922

  2. Martian Polar Region Impact Craters: Geometric Properties From Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Frawley, J. J.; Matias, A.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument onboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft has so far observed approximately 100 impact landforms in the north polar latitudes (>60 degrees N) of Mars. Correlation of the topography with Viking Orbiter images indicate that many of these are near-center profiles, and for some of the most northern craters, multiple data passes have been acquired. The northern high latitudes of Mars may contain substantial ground ice and be topped with seasonal frost (largely CO2 with some water), forming each winter. We have analyzed various diagnostic crater topologic parameters for this high-latitude crater population with the objective of characterizing impact features in north polar terrains, and we explore whether there is evidence of interaction with ground ice, frost, dune movement, or other polar processes. We find that there are substantial topographic variations from the characteristics of midlatitude craters in the polar craters that are not readily apparent from prior images. The transition from small simple craters to large complex craters is not well defined, as was observed in the midlatitude MOLA data (transition at 7-8 km). Additionally, there appear to be additional topographic complexities such as anomalously large central structures in many polar latitude impact features. It is not yet clear if these are due to target-induced differences in the formation of the crater or post-formation modifications from polar processes.

  3. Initial Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Measurements of the Mars Surface and Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Afzal, Robert S.

    1998-01-01

    The 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.

  4. Observations of the north polar region of Mars from the Mars orbiter laser altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zuber, M. T.; Smith, D. E.; Solomon, S. C.; Abshire, J. B.; Afzal, R. S.; Aharonson, O.; Fishbaugh, K.; Ford, P. G.; Frey, H. V.; Garvin, J. B.; Head, J. W.; Ivanov, A. B.; Johnson, C. L.; Muhleman, D. O.; Neumann, G. A.; Pettengill, G. H.; Phillips, R. J.; Sun, X.; Zwally, H. J.; Banerdt, W. B.; Duxbury, T. C.

    1998-01-01

    Elevations from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) have been used to construct a precise topographic map of the martian north polar region. The northern ice cap has a maximum elevation of 3 kilometers above its surroundings but lies within a 5-kilometer-deep hemispheric depression that is contiguous with the area into which most outflow channels emptied. Polar cap topography displays evidence of modification by ablation, flow, and wind and is consistent with a primarily H2O composition. Correlation of topography with images suggests that the cap was more spatially extensive in the past. The cap volume of 1.2 x 10(6) to 1.7 x 10(6) cubic kilometers is about half that of the Greenland ice cap. Clouds observed over the polar cap are likely composed of CO2 that condensed out of the atmosphere during northern hemisphere winter. Many clouds exhibit dynamical structure likely caused by the interaction of propagating wave fronts with surface topography.

  5. Geometric properties of Martian impact craters: Preliminary results from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garvin, James B.; Frawley, James J.

    1998-12-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) acquired high spatial and vertical resolution topographic data for 18 tracks across the northern hemisphere of Mars during the Fall of 1997. It sampled 98 minimally degraded impact craters between the latitudes of 80°N and 12°S The best fitting depth (d) versus diameter (D) power-law relationship for these craters is: d = 0.14 D0.90 for simple varieties, and d = 0.25 D0.49 for complex structures. The simple-to-complex transition diameter is 8 km (+/-0.5 km). The cross-sectional “shape” of the crater cavities was determined by fitting a power-function to each profile. Variation in the exponent (n) suggest the craters flatten with increasing diameter and impact energy. The ejecta thickness is skewed suggesting that use of existing empirical expressions for the expected radial decay of ejecta thickness is inappropriate for Mars in most cases.

  6. Initial Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Measurements of the Mars Surface and Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abshire, James B.; Sun, Xiaoli; Afzal, Robert S.

    1998-07-01

    The 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.

  7. ICESat-2: the next generation laser altimeter mission for polar research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neumann, Thomas; Markus, Thorsten; Martino, Anthony

    2015-04-01

    NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission objectives are to quantify polar ice sheet contributions to sea level change, quantify regional signatures of ice sheet changes to assess driving mechanisms, estimate sea ice thickness, and to enable measurements of global canopy height as a basis for estimating large-scale biomass. Its predecessor ICESat, which operated from 2003 to 2009, pioneered the use of laser altimeters in space to study the elevation of the Earth's surface and its changes. Among other contributions to the cryospheric sciences, ICESat proved adept at making centimeter-level elevation measurements over both ice sheets and sea ice. Since ICESat stopped collecting data in October 2009, the IceBridge and CryoSat-2 missions continue these important observations. The well-documented and ongoing dramatic and rapid changes in the Earth's ice cover have strengthened the need for sustained observations beyond what CryoSat-2 and IceBridge are expected to provide. Lessons learned from ICESat demonstrated the need for cross-track slope information over the ice sheets (realized through ICESat-2's multiple beams), a smaller footprint size, and gapless along-track data collection. These needs resulted in a different measurement concept for ICESat-2. The presentation will provide a brief summary of the measurement concept, the status of hardware development (instrument Integration and Testing has started in May 2014), and progress on geophysical algorithm development.

  8. Seasonal Changes in the Thickness of Martian Polar Crater Deposits From the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmerr, N. C.; Garvin, J. B.; Neumann, G. A.; Sakimoto, S. E.

    2001-12-01

    This study uses near-repeat topographic profiles and gridded data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter to investigate temporal changes in several ice-filled craters in the North Polar Region of Mars. The craters we investigated are Korolev (73° N, 163° E), "Sasquatch" (77° N, 89° E) and "Frosty" (77° N, 215° E) [Garvin et. al., 2000, Icarus, 144, 329-352]. Profiles are corrected using crossovers that are not affected by seasonal changes. We find that spatially matched but temporally separated MOLA profiles of the central ice deposits within these craters show vertical variation on the order of 1-5 meters. This change in topography temporally correlates to the seasonal deposition and sublimation of frost in the North Polar Region of Mars [Zuber et al., this session] but is locally greater in magnitude. The change is also localized to the south-facing slopes of the ice deposits within the craters. This suggests that up to 5 m of carbon dioxide frost deposition and ablation may be taking place on the south-facing slopes of these craters each Martian year. This rapid change in ice deposit thickness provides a mechanism for geologically swift modification of the polar-layered terrains.

  9. Tracking system options for future altimeter satellite missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davis, G. W.; Rim, H. J.; Ries, J. C.; Tapley, B. D.

    1994-01-01

    Follow-on missions to provide continuity in the observation of the sea surface topography once the successful TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) oceanographic satellite mission has ended are discussed. Candidates include orbits which follow the ground tracks of T/P GEOSAT or ERS-1. The T/P precision ephemerides, estimated to be near 3 cm root-mean-square, demonstrate the radial orbit accuracy that can be achieved at 1300 km altitude. However, the radial orbit accuracy which can be achieved for a mission at the 800 km altitudes of GEOSAT and ERS-1 has not been established, and achieving an accuracy commensurate with T/P will pose a great challenge. This investigation focuses on the radial orbit accuracy that can be achieved for a mission in the GEOSAT orbit. Emphasis is given to characterizing the effects of force model errors on the estimated radial orbit accuracy, particularly those due to gravity and drag. The importance of global, continuous tracking of the satellite for reduction in these sources of orbit error is demonstrated with simulated GPS tracking data. A gravity tuning experiment is carried out to show how the effects of gravity error may be reduced. Assuming a GPS flight receiver with a full-sky tracking capability, the simulation results indicate that a 5 cm radial orbit accuracy for an altimeter satellite in GEOSAT orbit should be achievable during low-drag atmospheric conditions and after an acceptable tuning of the gravity model.

  10. Two Mars Years of Clouds Detected by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2002-01-01

    MOLA operated as an atmospheric lidar as well as an altimeter. We present results spanning two Mars years of observations, and some observations concerning cloud waveforms and snow. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  11. The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS): A Medium-Altitude, Digitization-Only, Airborne Laser Altimeter for Mapping Vegetation and Topography

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, J. Bryan; Rabine, David L.; Hofton, Michelle A.

    1999-01-01

    The Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne, scanning laser altimeter designed and developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. LVIS operates at altitudes up to 10 km above ground, and is capable of producing a data swath up to 1000 m wide nominally with 25 m wide footprints. The entire time history of the outgoing and return pulses is digitized, allowing unambiguous determination of range and return pulse structure. Combined with aircraft position and attitude knowledge, this instrument produces topographic maps with decimeter accuracy and vertical height and structure measurements of vegetation. The laser transmitter is a diode-pumped Nd:YAG oscillator producing 1064 nm, 10 nsec, 5 mJ pulses at repetition rates up to 500 Hz. LVIS has recently demonstrated its ability to determine topography (including sub-canopy) and vegetation height and structure on flight missions to various forested regions in the U.S. and Central America. The LVIS system is the airborne simulator for the Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) mission (a NASA Earth remote sensing satellite due for launch in 2000), providing simulated data sets and a platform for instrument proof-of-concept studies. The topography maps and return waveforms produced by LVIS provide Earth scientists with a unique data set allowing studies of topography, hydrology, and vegetation with unmatched accuracy and coverage.

  12. Application of Reconfigurable Computing Technology to Multi-KiloHertz Micro-Laser Altimeter (MMLA) Data Processing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Powell, Wesley; Dabney, Philip; Hicks, Edward; Pinchinat, Maxime; Day, John H. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The Multi-KiloHertz Micro-Laser Altimeter (MMLA) is an aircraft based instrument developed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center with several potential spaceflight applications. This presentation describes how reconfigurable computing technology was employed to perform MMLA signal extraction in real-time under realistic operating constraints. The MMLA is a "single-photon-counting" airborne laser altimeter that is used to measure land surface features such as topography and vegetation canopy height. This instrument has to date flown a number of times aboard the NASA P3 aircraft acquiring data at a number of sites in the Mid-Atlantic region. This instrument pulses a relatively low-powered laser at a very high rate (10 kHz) and then measures the time-of-flight of discrete returns from the target surface. The instrument then bins these measurements into a two-dimensional array (vertical height vs. horizontal ground track) and selects the most likely signal path through the array. Return data that does not correspond to the selected signal path are classified as noise returns and are then discarded. The MMLA signal extraction algorithm is very compute intensive in that a score must be computed for every possible path through the two dimensional array in order to select the most likely signal path. Given a typical array size with 50 x 6, up to 33 arrays must be processed per second. And for each of these arrays, roughly 12,000 individual paths must be scored. Furthermore, the number of paths increases exponentially with the horizontal size of the array, and linearly with the vertical size. Yet, increasing the horizontal and vertical sizes of the array offer science advantages such as improved range, resolution, and noise rejection. Due to the volume of return data and the compute intensive signal extraction algorithm, the existing PC-based MMLA data system has been unable to perform signal extraction in real-time unless the array is limited in size to one column, This

  13. Polar Dunes Resolved by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Gridded Topography and Pulse Widths

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neumann, Gregory A.

    2003-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) polar data have been refined to the extent that many features poorly imaged by Viking Orbiters are now resolved in densely gridded altimetry. Individual linear polar dunes with spacings of 0.5 km or more can be seen as well as sparsely distributed and partially mantled dunes. The refined altimetry will enable measurements of the extent and possibly volume of the north polar ergs. MOLA pulse widths have been recalibrated using inflight data, and a robust algorithm applied to solve for the surface optical impulse response. It shows the surface root-mean-square (RMS) roughness at the 75-m-diameter MOLA footprint scale, together with a geological map. While the roughness is of vital interest for landing site safety studies, a variety of geomorphological studies may also be performed. Pulse widths corrected for regional slope clearly delineate the extent of the polar dunes. The MOLA PEDR profile data have now been re-released in their entirety (Version L). The final Mission Experiment Gridded Data Records (MEGDR's) are now provided at up to 128 pixels per degree globally. Densities as high as 512 pixels per degree are available in a polar stereographic projection. A large computational effort has been expended in improving the accuracy of the MOLA altimetry themselves, both in improved orbital modeling and in after-the-fact adjustment of tracks to improve their registration at crossovers. The current release adopts the IAU2000 rotation model and cartographic frame recommended by the Mars Cartography Working Group. Adoption of the current standard will allow registration of images and profiles globally with an uncertainty of less than 100 m. The MOLA detector is still operational and is currently collecting radiometric data at 1064 nm. Seasonal images of the reflectivity of the polar caps can be generated with a resolution of about 300 m per pixel.

  14. An Overview of Observations of Mars' North Polar Region From the Mars Global Surveyor Laser Altimeter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    1998-01-01

    Since its arrival at Mars on September l5, 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) has been in a near-polar elliptical orbit, with the orbital eccentricity decreasing during orbital periapse passes where the spacecraft aerobrakes through the martian atmosphere. The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument on the MGS, has the ability to range to the martian surface during nonaerobraking passes. MOLA can operate whenever the range from the spacecraft to the surface is less than 786 km, with the limit determined by the number of bits encoded for the range measurement During the capture orbit, aerobraking hiatus, and science phasing orbit (SPO) mission phases, MOLA acquired approximately 200 profiles across the northern hemisphere of Mars and provided more than 2,000,000 measurements of the radius of the planet. These observations cover the region from the north pole to about 10 degrees S latitude with a precision of a few tens of centimeters and an accuracy (at present) of about 30 in. Absolute accuracy of the elevations is limited by the knowledge of the MGS orbits; these should improve later in the mission due to a more optimal tracking geometry, an improved gravitational field, and the use of the high-gain antenna once the spacecraft achieves its approximately 400-km-altitude circular mapping orbit. MOLA measurements so far show a planet with a low, flat high-latitude region in the north and a higher, topographically rougher terrain nearer the equator. The north polar cap stands approximately 2-3 km above the surrounding terrain and displays deep chasms and complex structure. MOLA measurements of elevation, 1064-nm reflectivity, and backscattered pulse width indicate that the layered terrains are composed mainly of ice.

  15. Full-waveform, Laser Altimeter Measurements of Vegetation Vertical Structure and Sub-canopy Topography in Support of the North American Carbon Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair, B.; Hofton, M.; Rabine, D.; Padden, P.; Rhoads, J.

    2004-01-01

    Full-waveform, scanning laser altimeters (i.e. lidar) provide a unique and precise view of the vertical and horizontal structure of vegetation across wide swaths. These unique laser altimeters systems are able to simultaneously image sub-canopy topography and the vertical structure of any overlying vegetation. These data reveal the true 3-D distribution of vegetation in leaf-on conditions enabling important biophysical parameters such as canopy height and aboveground biomass to be estimated with unprecedented accuracy. An airborne lidar mission was conducted in the summer of 2003 in support of preliminary studies for the North America Carbon Program. NASA's Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) was used to image approximately 2,000 sq km in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maryland. Areas with available ground and other data were included (e.g., experimental forests, FLUXNET sites) in order to facilitate numerous bio- and geophysical investigations. Data collected included ground elevation and canopy height measurements for each laser footprint, as well as the vertical distribution of intercepted surfaces (i.e. the return waveform). Data are currently available at the LVIS website (http://lvis.gsfc.nasa.gov/). Further details of the mission, including the lidar system technology, the locations of the mapped areas, and examples of the numerous data products that can be derived from the return waveform data products are available on the website and will be presented. Future applications including potential fusion with other remote sensing data sets and a spaceborne implementation of wide-swath, full-waveform imaging lidar will also be discussed.

  16. Performance Considerations for the SIMPL Single Photon, Polarimetric, Two-Color Laser Altimeter as Applied to Measurements of Forest Canopy Structure and Composition

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dabney, Philip W.; Harding, David J.; Valett, Susan R.; Vasilyev, Aleksey A.; Yu, Anthony W.

    2012-01-01

    The Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) is a multi-beam, micropulse airborne laser altimeter that acquires active and passive polarimetric optical remote sensing measurements at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. SIMPL was developed to demonstrate advanced measurement approaches of potential benefit for improved, more efficient spaceflight laser altimeter missions. SIMPL data have been acquired for wide diversity of forest types in the summers of 2010 and 2011 in order to assess the potential of its novel capabilities for characterization of vegetation structure and composition. On each of its four beams SIMPL provides highly-resolved measurements of forest canopy structure by detecting single-photons with 15 cm ranging precision using a narrow-beam system operating at a laser repetition rate of 11 kHz. Associated with that ranging data SIMPL provides eight amplitude parameters per beam unlike the single amplitude provided by typical laser altimeters. Those eight parameters are received energy that is parallel and perpendicular to that of the plane-polarized transmit pulse at 532 nm (green) and 1064 nm (near IR), for both the active laser backscatter retro-reflectance and the passive solar bi-directional reflectance. This poster presentation will cover the instrument architecture and highlight the performance of the SIMPL instrument with examples taken from measurements for several sites with distinct canopy structures and compositions. Specific performance areas such as probability of detection, after pulsing, and dead time, will be highlighted and addressed, along with examples of their impact on the measurements and how they limit the ability to accurately model and recover the canopy properties. To assess the sensitivity of SIMPL's measurements to canopy properties an instrument model has been implemented in the FLIGHT radiative transfer code, based on Monte Carlo simulation of photon transport. SIMPL data collected in 2010 over

  17. Mars 1064 nm spectral radiance measurements determined from the receiver noise response of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

    PubMed

    Sun, Xiaoli; Neumann, Gregory A; Abshire, James B; Zuber, Maria T

    2006-06-10

    A technique was developed to compute the radiance of the scene viewed by the optical receiver of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter. The technique used the detection threshold and the false detection rate of the receiver to provide a passive radiometry measurement of Mars at the 1064 nm wavelength over a 2 nm bandwidth and subkilometer spatial resolution in addition to the altimetry and active radiometry measurements. The passive radiometry measurement is shown to have a 2% or better precision and has been stable over several Martian years. We describe the principle of operation of the instrument and its calibration and assess its performance from sample orbital measurements. PMID:16761033

  18. Radiometry Measurements of Mars at 1064 nm Using the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Abshire, James B.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Measurements by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on board the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) may be used to provides a radiometric measurement of Mars in addition to the topographic measurement. We will describe the principle of operation, a mathematical model, and the receiver calibration in this presentation. MOLA was designed primarily to measure Mars topography, surface roughness end the bidirectional reflectance to the laser beam. To achieve the highest sensitivity the receiver detection threshold is dynamically adjusted to be as low as possible while keeping a predetermined false alarm rate. The average false alarm rate 29 monitored in real time on board MOLA via a noise counter, whose output is fed to the threshold control loop. The false alarm rate at a given threshold is a function of the detector output noise which is the sum of the photo detector, shot noise due to the background light seen by the detector and the dark noise. A mathematical model has been developed that can be used to numerically solve for the optical background power given the MOLA threshold setting and the average noise count. The radiance of Mars can then be determined by dividing the optical power by the solid angle subtended by the MOLA receiver, the receiver optical band-width, end the Mars surface area within the receiver field of view. The phase angle which is the sun-Mars-MOLA angle is available from the MGS database. MOLA also measures simultaneously the bidirectional reflectance of Mars vie its 106-lum loser beam at nadir with nearly zero phase angle. The optical bandwidth of the MOLA receiver is 2um full width at half maximum (FWHM) and centered at 106-lum. The receiver field of view is 0.95mrad FWHM. The nominated spacecraft altitude is 100km and the ground track speed is about 3km/s. Under normal operation, the noise counter are read and the threshold levels are updated at 1Hz. The receiver sensitivity is limited by the detector dark noise to about 0.1nW, which

  19. Mars 1064-nm Spectral Radiance Measurements from the Receiver Noise Response of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Neumann, Gregory A.; Abshire, James B.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter not only provides surface topography from the laser pulse time-of-flight, but also two radiometric measurements, the active measurement of transmitted and reflected laser pulse energy, and the passive measurement of reflected solar illumination. The passive radiometry measurement is accomplished in a novel fashion by monitoring the noise density at the output of the photodetector and solving for the amount of background light. The passive radiometry measurements provide images of Mars at 1064-nm wavelength over a 2 nm bandwidth with sub-km spatial resolution and with 2% or better precision under full illumination. We describe in this paper the principle of operation, the receiver mathematical model, its calibration, and performance assessment from sample measurement data.

  20. NASA's Operation IceBridge: using instrumented aircraft to bridge the observational gap between ICESat and ICESat-2 laser altimeter measurements (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studinger, M.; Koenig, L.; Martin, S.; Sonntag, J. G.

    2010-12-01

    In 2009, the NASA satellite laser altimeter mission ICESat (Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite), which was launched in 2003, ceased to operate. To bridge the gap in polar laser observations between ICESat and its replacement ICESat-2, which is not scheduled for launch until 2015, Operation IceBridge, a six-year NASA airborne mission, was initiated in 2009. From a series of yearly polar flights, Operation IceBridge uses airborne instruments to map rapidly changing areas in the Arctic and Antarctic, building on two decades of repeat airborne and satellite measurements. Combined with previous aircraft observations, as well as ICESat, CryoSat-2 and the forthcoming ICESat-2 observations, Operation IceBridge will produce a cross-calibrated 17-year time series of ice sheet and sea-ice elevation data over Antarctica, as well as a 27-year time series over Greenland. These time series will be a critical resource for predictive models of sea ice and ice sheet behavior. In addition to laser altimetry, Operation IceBridge is using a comprehensive suite of instruments to produce a three-dimensional view of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and the sea ice. The suite includes two NASA laser altimeters, the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS); four radar systems from the University of Kansas’ Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), a Ku-band radar altimeter, accumulation radar, snow radar and the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS); a Sander Geophysics airborne gravimeter (AIRGrav) and a high resolution stereographic camera (DMS). The first Operation IceBridge flights were conducted between March and May 2009 over the Arctic and between October and November 2009 over Antarctica. Since its start in 2009, Operation IceBridge has flown 69 science missions, 580 flight hours and collected more than 350,000 km of data. All Operation IceBridge data are available at NSDIC: http

  1. Lunar Phase Function at 1064 Nm from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter Passive and Active Radiometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barker, M. K.; Sun, X.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Zuber, M. T.; Smith, D. E.

    2016-01-01

    We present initial calibration and results of passive radiometry collected by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter over the course of 12 months. After correcting for time- and temperature-dependent dark noise and detector responsivity variations, the LOLA passive radiometry measurements are brought onto the absolute radiance scale of the SELENE Spectral Profiler. The resulting photometric precision is estimated to be 5%. We leverage the unique ability of LOLA to measure normal albedo to explore the 1064 nm phase function's dependence on various geologic parameters. On a global scale, we find that iron abundance and optical maturity (quantified by FeO and OMAT) are the dominant controlling parameters. Titanium abundance (TiO2), surface roughness on decimeter to decameter scales, and soil thermo- physical properties have a smaller effect, but the latter two are correlated with OMAT, indicating that exposure age is the driving force behind their effects in a globally-averaged sense. The phase function also exhibits a dependence on surface slope at approximately 300 m baselines, possibly the result of mass wasting exposing immature material and/or less space weathering due to reduced sky visibility. Modeling the photometric function in the Hapke framework, we find that, relative to the highlands, the maria exhibit decreased backscattering, a smaller opposition effect (OE) width, and a smaller OE amplitude. Immature highlands regolith has a higher backscattering fraction and a larger OE width compared to mature highlands regolith. Within the maria, the backscattering fraction and OE width show little dependence on TiO2 and OMAT. Variations in the phase function shape at large phase angles are observed in and around the Copernican-aged Jackson crater, including its dark halo, a putative impact melt deposit. Finally, the phase function of the Reiner Gamma Formation behaves more optically immature than is typical for its composition

  2. Lunar phase function at 1064 nm from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter passive and active radiometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barker, M. K.; Sun, X.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Zuber, M. T.; Smith, D. E.

    2016-07-01

    We present initial calibration and results of passive radiometry collected by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter over the course of 12 months. After correcting for time- and temperature-dependent dark noise and detector responsivity variations, the LOLA passive radiometry measurements are brought onto the absolute radiance scale of the SELENE Spectral Profiler. The resulting photometric precision is estimated to be ∼5%. We leverage the unique ability of LOLA to measure normal albedo to explore the 1064 nm phase function's dependence on various geologic parameters. On a global scale, we find that iron abundance and optical maturity (quantified by FeO and OMAT) are the dominant controlling parameters. Titanium abundance (TiO2), surface roughness on decimeter to decameter scales, and soil thermophysical properties have a smaller effect, but the latter two are correlated with OMAT, indicating that exposure age is the driving force behind their effects in a globally-averaged sense. The phase function also exhibits a dependence on surface slope at ∼300 m baselines, possibly the result of mass wasting exposing immature material and/or less space weathering due to reduced sky visibility. Modeling the photometric function in the Hapke framework, we find that, relative to the highlands, the maria exhibit decreased backscattering, a smaller opposition effect (OE) width, and a smaller OE amplitude. Immature highlands regolith has a higher backscattering fraction and a larger OE width compared to mature highlands regolith. Within the maria, the backscattering fraction and OE width show little dependence on TiO2 and OMAT. Variations in the phase function shape at large phase angles are observed in and around the Copernican-aged Jackson crater, including its dark halo, a putative impact melt deposit. Finally, the phase function of the Reiner Gamma Formation behaves more optically immature than is typical for its composition and OMAT

  3. Martian Polar Region Impact Craters: Topographical Perspectives from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Frawley, J. J.; Matias, A.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) has acquired over 100 topographic cross-sections of impact landforms in the polar regions of Mars as part of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Science Phasing Orbit observations during the period from April to July, 1998. These MOLA topographic profiles offer the first three-dimensional perspectives of high latitude craters on Mars yet available, and provide evidence of landform geometries not previously recognized. Indeed, the relatively poor quality of Viking Orbiter images of many high northern latitude regions has allowed the MOLA data to provide insights into the cavities and ejecta topologies of non-degraded impact landforms that have clearly experienced interactions with condensates, either as part of their formation, or as a post-modification stage effect. Here we report a preliminary summary of the results associated with topographic measurements for a statistically significant population of impact features all of which lie north of 60N latitude. MOLA sampled four impact features with frost-related interior deposits, including the 81 km (diameter) Korolev feature. In several cases, there is evidence from near-centerline MOLA cross-sections of crater interior features (i.e., central peak or ice-dust deposits) that are anomalously large relative to the crater cavity. Central structures that make up more than 50% of the volume of a crater cavity are observed, suggesting that either substantial accumulation of mantling materials has occurred, or that crater excavation triggered production of volume-enhancing materials (ice?). Pedestal craters sampled by MOLA also attest to enhanced production of ejecta materials in high latitude terrains. For example, many of the pedestal craters suggest a volume of ejecta (Ve) to volume of cavity (Vc) ratio far in excess of 1.0 (i.e., over 3.0), even in cases where the floor of the cavity appears unfilled. Finally, the well-defined transitions between simple and complex craters observed in

  4. Vertical Roughness of the Polar Regions of Mars from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Pulse-Width Measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Frawley, J. J.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.

    2000-08-01

    The sub-kilometer scale vertical roughness of the martian surface in the polar regions can be investigated using calibrated, optical pulse width data provided by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). Garvin and others have previously discussed initial observations of what we have called "total vertical roughness" or TVR, as derived from MOLA optical pulse width observations acquired during the pre-mapping phases of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. Here we present the first assessment of the Mars polar region properties of the TVR parameter from more than nine months of continuous mapping by MOLA as part of the MGS mapping mission. Other than meter-scale surface properties directly inferred from Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images, MOLA measurements of footprint-scale TVR represent the only direct measurements of the local vertical structure of the martian surface at approx. 150 m length scales. These types of data have previously been shown to correlate with geologic process histories for terrestrial desert surfaces on the basis of Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) observations. Additional information is obtained in the original extended abstract.

  5. Vertical Roughness of the Polar Regions of Mars from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Pulse-Width Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Frawley, J. J.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.

    2000-01-01

    The sub-kilometer scale vertical roughness of the martian surface in the polar regions can be investigated using calibrated, optical pulse width data provided by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). Garvin and others have previously discussed initial observations of what we have called "total vertical roughness" or TVR, as derived from MOLA optical pulse width observations acquired during the pre-mapping phases of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. Here we present the first assessment of the Mars polar region properties of the TVR parameter from more than nine months of continuous mapping by MOLA as part of the MGS mapping mission. Other than meter-scale surface properties directly inferred from Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images, MOLA measurements of footprint-scale TVR represent the only direct measurements of the local vertical structure of the martian surface at approx. 150 m length scales. These types of data have previously been shown to correlate with geologic process histories for terrestrial desert surfaces on the basis of Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) observations. Additional information is obtained in the original extended abstract.

  6. Application of the Shuttle Laser Altimeter in an Accuracy Assessment of Global 1-Kilometer Digital Elevation Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harding, David J.; Carabajal, Claudia C.; Luthcke, Scott B.; Gesch, Dean B.

    1998-01-01

    Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) data have been used to evaluate the accuracy of GTOPO30, the first comprehensive, 1 km resolution, global topographic data set. GTOPO30 was developed by the USGS Eros Data Center (EDC), in part, to address NASA's needs for a global topographic model in support of remote sensing instruments aboard the Earth Observing System AM-1 spacecraft. SLA flew as a part of the STS-72 mission in January, 1996 observing the latitude band from +/- 28.5 deg, and on STS-85 in August, 1997 extending the observations to +/- 57 deg. Combining the SLA ranging data with shuttle position and pointing knowledge yields surface elevation data of very high vertical accuracy in an Earth-centered, absolute reference frame (2.8 m rms difference for SLA-01 with respect to ocean reference surface). Use of the well-determined mean sea surface reference for calibration allows propagation of high accuracy altimetry onto the continents. 436,635 SLA-01 land elevations were compared to the GTOPO30 grid after conversion to a mean sea level vertical datum using the Earth Geoid Model 96, jointly developed by Goddard and NIMA. The comparison reveals systematic elevation biases in southern Asia, Africa, Australia, and south America on the order 10's to 100 meters in the GTOPO30 compilation on spatial scales of 100's to 1000's of kilometers. These biases are likely due to vertical datum errors in the topographic source materials used to compile GTOPO30, which primarily consist of Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) digital elevation and topographic map products. These biases imply that elevation corrections applied to land gravity measurements using these DMA source materials will be biased, leading to errors in geoid models incorporating these land gravity data.

  7. Lunar Impact Basins: Stratigraphy, Sequence and Ages from Superposed Impact Crater Populations Measured from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fassett, C. I.; Head, J. W.; Kadish, S. J.; Mazarico, E.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2012-01-01

    Impact basin formation is a fundamental process in the evolution of the Moon and records the history of impactors in the early solar system. In order to assess the stratigraphy, sequence, and ages of impact basins and the impactor population as a function of time, we have used topography from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to measure the superposed impact crater size-frequency distributions for 30 lunar basins (D = 300 km). These data generally support the widely used Wilhelms sequence of lunar basins, although we find significantly higher densities of superposed craters on many lunar basins than derived by Wilhelms (50% higher densities). Our data also provide new insight into the timing of the transition between distinct crater populations characteristic of ancient and young lunar terrains. The transition from a lunar impact flux dominated by Population 1 to Population 2 occurred before the mid-Nectarian. This is before the end of the period of rapid cratering, and potentially before the end of the hypothesized Late Heavy Bombardment. LOLA-derived crater densities also suggest that many Pre-Nectarian basins, such as South Pole-Aitken, have been cratered to saturation equilibrium. Finally, both crater counts and stratigraphic observations based on LOLA data are applicable to specific basin stratigraphic problems of interest; for example, using these data, we suggest that Serenitatis is older than Nectaris, and Humboldtianum is younger than Crisium. Sample return missions to specific basins can anchor these measurements to a Pre-Imbrian absolute chronology.

  8. On the calibration of Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter surface roughness estimates using high-resolution DTMs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poole, W.; Muller, J.-P.; Gupta, S.

    2012-04-01

    Planetary surface roughness is critical in the selection of suitable landing sites for robotic lander or roving missions. It has also been used in the identification of terrain, for better calibration of radar returns and improved understanding of aerodynamic roughness [1]. One of the secondary science goals of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) was the study of surface roughness at 100 m, using the backscatter pulse width of the laser pulse, which has a footprint of 168 m in diameter [2]. The pulse width values in the final release (version L) of the MOLA Precision Experiment Data Record (PEDR) have been corrected for across track slopes and the removal of 'bad points', and footprint diameter was revised to 75 m, with a 35 m response length in [3]. We look here at comparing surface roughness values derived from the MOLA pulse-width data with surface roughness estimates derived at various scales from high-resolution digital terrain models (DTMs) to determine if these theoretically derived surface roughness lengths are physically meaningful. The final four potential landing sites for Mars Science Laboratory were used in this study, as they have extensive HiRISE (1m) and HRSC (50m) DTM coverage [4]. Pulse width data from both the MOLA PEDR (version L) and the data used in [3] was collected and compared for each of the sites against surface roughness estimates at various scales from HiRISE, and HRSC, DTMs using the RMS height. This assumed a circular footprint for each MOLA footprint and that the horizontal geolocation of the PEDR MOLA footprints was sufficiently accurate to only extract those DTM points which lay inside the footprints. Results from the MOLA PEDR data were extremely poor, and show no correlation with surface roughness measurements from DTMs. Results using the corrected data in [3] were mixed. Eberswalde and Holden Craters both show significantly improved correlations for a variety of surface roughness scales. The best correlations were found to

  9. The Keck "Mars 2000" Project: Using Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter Data to Assess Geological Processes and Regional Stratigraphy Near Orcus Patera and Marte Vallis on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grosfils, E. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Mendelson, C. V.; Bleacher, J. E.

    2001-01-01

    During the Keck 'Mars 2000' summer project 10 undergraduates (rising juniors) used Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data to study a 19x14 degree region they identified as a potential Mars 2003 landing site. Here we introduce the project science and organization. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  10. NASA's Operation IceBridge: using instrumented aircraft to bridge the observational gap between ICESat and ICESat-2 laser altimeter measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studinger, M.

    2012-12-01

    NASA's Operation IceBridge images Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. Operation IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, Operation IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of Earth's polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations betweenNASA's ICESat satellite missions. Combined with previous aircraft observations, as well as ICESat, CryoSat-2 and the forthcoming ICESat-2 observations, Operation IceBridge will produce a cross-calibrated 17-year time series of ice sheet and sea-ice elevation data over Antarctica, as well as a 27-year time series over Greenland. These time series will be a critical resource for predictive models of sea ice and ice sheet behavior. In addition to laser altimetry, Operation IceBridge is using a comprehensive suite of instruments to produce a three-dimensional view of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and the sea ice. The suite includes two NASA laser altimeters, the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS); four radar systems from the University of Kansas' Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), a Ku-band radar altimeter, accumulation radar, snow radar and the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS); a Sander Geophysics airborne gravimeter (AIRGrav), a magnetometer and a high-resolution stereographic camera (DMS). Since its start in 2009, Operation IceBridge has deployed 7 geophysical survey aircraft, 18 science instruments. All IceBridge data is freely available from NSIDC (http://nsidc.org/data/icebridge) 6 months after completion of a campaign.

  11. NASA's Operation IceBridge: using instrumented aircraft to bridge the observational gap between ICESat and ICESat-2 laser altimeter measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studinger, M.

    2013-12-01

    NASA's Operation IceBridge images Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. Operation IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, Operation IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of Earth's polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's ICESat satellite missions. Combined with previous aircraft observations, as well as ICESat, CryoSat-2 and the forthcoming ICESat-2 observations, Operation IceBridge will produce a cross-calibrated 17-year time series of ice sheet and sea-ice elevation data over Antarctica, as well as a 27-year time series over Greenland. These time series will be a critical resource for predictive models of sea ice and ice sheet behavior. In addition to laser altimetry, Operation IceBridge is using a comprehensive suite of instruments to produce a three-dimensional view of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and the sea ice. The suite includes two NASA laser altimeters, the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS); four radar systems from the University of Kansas' Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), a Ku-band radar altimeter, accumulation radar, snow radar and the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS); a Sander Geophysics airborne gravimeter (AIRGrav), a magnetometer and a high-resolution stereographic camera (DMS). Since its start in 2009, Operation IceBridge has deployed 8 geophysical survey aircraft and 19 science instruments. All IceBridge data is freely available from NSIDC (http://nsidc.org/data/icebridge) 6 months after completion of a campaign.

  12. Orientale Impact Basin and Vicinity: Topographic Characterization from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, J. W.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.; Neumann, G. A.; Fassett, C.; Mazarico, E.; Torrence, M. H.; Dickson, J.

    2009-12-01

    The 920 km diameter Orientale basin is the youngest and most well-preserved large multi-ringed impact basin on the Moon; it has not been significantly filled with mare basalts, as have other lunar impact basins, and thus the basin interior deposits and ring structures are very well-exposed and provide major insight into the formation and evolution of planetary multi-ringed impact basins. We report here on the acquisition of new altimetry data for the Orientale basin from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Pre-basin structure had a major effect on the formation of Orientale; we have mapped dozens of impact craters underlying both the Orientale ejecta (Hevelius Formation-HF) and the unit between the basin rim (Cordillera ring-CR) and the Outer Rook ring (OR) (known as the Montes Rook Formation-MRF), ranging up in size to the Mendel-Rydberg basin just to the south of Orientale; this crater-basin topography has influenced the topographic development of the basin rim (CR), sometimes causing the basin rim to lie at a topographically lower level than the inner basin rings (OR and Inner Rook-IR). In contrast to some previous interpretations, the distribution of these features supports the interpretation that the OR ring is the closest approximation to the basin excavation cavity. The total basin interior topography is highly variable and typically ranges ~6-7 km below the surrounding pre-basin surface, with significant variations in different quadrants. The inner basin depression is about 2-4 km deep below the IR plateau and these data permit the quantitative assessment of post-basin-formation thermal response to impact energy input and uplifted isotherms. The Maunder Formation (MF) consists of smooth plains (on the inner basin depression walls and floor) and corrugated deposits (on the IR plateau); this topographic configuration supports the interpretation that the MF consists of different facies of impact melt. The inner

  13. Improved calibration of reflectance data from the LRO Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) and implications for space weathering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lemelin, M.; Lucey, P. G.; Neumann, G. A.; Mazarico, E. M.; Barker, M. K.; Kakazu, A.; Trang, D.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2016-07-01

    The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) experiment on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a laser altimeter that also measures the strength of the return pulse from the lunar surface. These data have been used to estimate the reflectance of the lunar surface, including regions lacking direct solar illumination. A new calibration of these data is presented that features lower uncertainties overall and more consistent results in the polar regions. We use these data, along with newly available maps of the distribution of lunar maria, also derived from LRO instrument data, to investigate a newly discovered dependence of the albedo of the lunar maria on latitude (Hemingway et al., [2015]). We confirm that there is an increase in albedo with latitude in the lunar maria, and confirm that this variation is not an artifact arising from the distribution of compositions within the lunar maria, using data from the Lunar Prospector Neutron Spectrometer. Radiative transfer modeling of the albedo dependence within the lunar maria is consistent with the very weak to absent dependence of albedo on latitude in the lunar highlands; the lower abundance of the iron source for space weathering products in the lunar highlands weakens the latitude dependence to the extent that it is only weakly detectable in current data. In addition, photometric models and normalization may take into account the fact that the lunar albedo is latitude dependent, but this dependence can cause errors in normalized reflectance of at most 2% for the majority of near-nadir geometries. We also investigate whether the latitude dependent albedo may have obscured detection of small mare deposits at high latitudes. We find that small regions at high latitudes with low roughness similar to the lunar maria are not mare deposits that may have been misclassified owing to high albedos imposed by the latitude dependence. Finally, we suggest that the only modest correlations among space weathering indicators defined

  14. Dynamic test of radio altimeter based on IQ modulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Hongfei; Tian, Yu; Li, Miao

    2010-08-01

    This paper based on the analysis and research of radio altimeter and its basic principles, it introduces a design for I/Q modulator's radio altimeter testing system. Further, data got from the test had been analyzed. Combined with the testing data of the altimeter, a construction of the I/Q modulator's radio altimeter testing system is built.

  15. The steepest slopes on the Moon from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Data: Spatial Distribution and Correlation with Geologic Features

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kreslavsky, Mikhail A.; Head, James W.

    2016-07-01

    We calculated topographic gradients over the surface of the Moon at a 25 m baseline using data obtained by the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. The relative spatial distribution of steep slopes can be reliably obtained, although some technical characteristics of the LOLA dataset preclude statistical studies of slope orientation. The derived slope-frequency distribution revealed a steep rollover for slopes close to the angle of repose. Slopes significantly steeper than the angle of repose are almost absent on the Moon due to (1) the general absence of cohesion/strength of the fractured and fragmented megaregolith of the lunar highlands, and (2) the absence of geological processes producing steep-slopes in the recent geological past. The majority of slopes steeper than 32°-35° are associated with relatively young large impact craters. We demonstrate that these impact craters progressively lose their steepest slopes. We also found that features of Early Imbrian and older ages have almost no slopes steeper than 35°. We interpret this to be due to removal of all steep slopes by the latest basin-forming impact (Orientale), probably by global seismic shaking. The global spatial distribution of the steepest slopes correlates moderately well with the predicted spatial distribution of impact rate; however, a significant paucity of steep slopes in the southern farside remains unexplained.

  16. Icesat-2: The Next Generation Laser Altimeter Mission for Polar Research - an Update on Development Status and Science Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Markus, T.; Neumann, T.; Anthony, M.

    2014-12-01

    NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission objectives are to quantify polar ice sheet contributions to sea level change, quantify regional signatures of ice sheet changes to assess driving mechanisms, estimate sea ice thickness, and to enable measurements of canopy height as a basis for estimating large-scale biomass. Its predecessor ICESat, which operated from 2003 to 2009, pioneered the use of laser altimeters in space to study the elevation of the Earth's surface and its changes. Among other contributions to the cryospheric sciences, ICESat proved adept at making centimeter-level elevation measurements over both ice sheets and sea ice. Since ICESat stopped collecting data in October 2009, the IceBridge and CryoSat-2 missions continue these important observations. The well-documented and ongoing dramatic and rapid changes in the Earth's ice cover have strengthened the need for sustained observations beyond what CryoSat-2 and IceBridge are expected to provide. Lessons learned from ICESat are the need for cross-track slope information (realized through ICESat-2's multiple beams), a smaller footprint size, and gapless along-track data collection. These needs resulted in a different measurement concept for ICESat-2. The talk will provide a brief summary of the measurement concept, the status of hardware development (instrument Integration and Testing has started in May 2014), and progress on geophysical algorithm development.

  17. Performance of the GLAS Laser Transmitter in Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yu, Anthony W.; Afzal, Robert S.; Dallas, Joseph L.; Melak, Anthony; Mamakos, William

    2006-01-01

    The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), launched in January 2003, is a laser altimeter and lidar for the Earth Observing System's (EOS) ICESat mission. The laser transmitter requirements, design and qualification test results and in-flight performance for this space-based remote sensing instrument is summarized and presented.

  18. Estimation of the on-orbit distortion of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA II) primary mirror

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Generie, Pamela; Hayden, William L.

    1996-11-01

    This paper describes the analyses performed to estimate the on-orbit distortion of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA II) primary mirror. MOLA II is one of five scientific instruments that will be flown on the Mars Global Surveyor. The MOLA II instrument will map the surface profile of Mars for a full Marian year to a resolution of 2 meters vertical and 160 meters horizontal. The MOLA II telescope is an f/6 Cassegrain telescope with a 0.85 milliradian (mrad) field of view. The telescope is made entirely of Brush Wellman S200F vacuum hot pressed beryllium. The primary mirror diameter is 508 mm with a base radius of curvature of 711.2 mm. This mirror is plated first with electroless nickel and then with electrolytic gold. The purpose of these analyses was (1) to estimate the on-orbit distortion of the large primary mirror due to thermal loading, interface stresses, and gravity release and (2) to calculate the expected damage to the mirror surface due to micrometeroid impacts. A detailed NASA structural analysis program finite element model was used as a tool for evaluating the mirror performance. The results of the analyses indicate that a stability error of 2.4 microns peak-to-valley and 0.6 microns root mean square is expected for the on-orbit distortion of the primary mirror surface. The estimated surface damage due to micrometeoroids is 0.03 cm2, which is 0.002 percent of the total surface area. Both of these results are within mission acceptance parameters.

  19. CGPS Implementation and Lidar/Laser Altimeter Experiences at l'Estartit, Ibiza and Barcelona Harbours for Sea Level Monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez-Benjamin, J.; Schutz, B.; Urban, T.; Ortiz Castellon, M.; Martinez-Garcia, M.; Ruiz, A.; Perez, B.; Rodriguez-Velasco, G.

    2008-12-01

    In the framework of a Spanish Space Project, the instrumentation of sea level measurements has been improved by providing the Barcelona site with a radar tide gauge and with a continuous GPS station nearby. The radar tide gauge is a Datamar 3000C device and a Thales Navigation Internet-Enabled GPS Continuous Geodetic Reference Station (iCGRS) with a choke ring antenna. It is intended that the overall system will constitute a CGPS Station of the ESEAS (European Sea Level) and TIGA (GPS Tide Gauge Benchmark Monitoring) networks. Puertos del Estado (Spanish Harbours) installed the tide gauge station at Ibiza harbour in January 2003. The station belongs to the REDMAR network, composed at this moment by 21 stations distributed along the whole Spanish waters, including also the Canary islands. The tide gauge also belongs to the ESEAS (European Sea Level) network. At the Barcelona harbour they have installed a radar tide gauge near a GPS station belonging to Puerto de Barcelona. L'Estartit floating tide gauge was set up in 1990. Data are taken in graphics registers from each two hours the mean value is recorded in an electronic support. L'Estartit tide gauge series provides good quality information about the changes in the sea heights at centimeter level, that is the magnitude of the common tides in the Mediterranean. Two airborne calibration campaigns carrying an Optech Lidar ALTM-3025 (ICC) were made on June 16, 2007 with a Partenavia P-68 and October 12, 2007, with a Cessna Caravan 208B flying along two ICESat target tracks including crossover near l'Estartit. The validation of this new technology LIDAR may be useful to fill coastal areas where satellite radar altimeters are not measuring due to the large footprint and the resulting gaps of about 15-30 km within the coastline. Measurements with a GPS Buoy at l'Estartit harbour were made during the June experience and a GPS reference station was installed in Aiguablava. On October 12, 2007, another LIDAR campaign was

  20. Heterodyne laser spectroscopy system

    DOEpatents

    Wyeth, Richard W.; Paisner, Jeffrey A.; Story, Thomas

    1990-01-01

    A heterodyne laser spectroscopy system utilizes laser heterodyne techniques for purposes of laser isotope separation spectroscopy, vapor diagnostics, processing of precise laser frequency offsets from a reference frequency, and provides spectral analysis of a laser beam.

  1. Heterodyne laser spectroscopy system

    DOEpatents

    Wyeth, Richard W.; Paisner, Jeffrey A.; Story, Thomas

    1989-01-01

    A heterodyne laser spectroscopy system utilizes laser heterodyne techniques for purposes of laser isotope separation spectroscopy, vapor diagnostics, processing of precise laser frequency offsets from a reference frequency and the like, and provides spectral analysis of a laser beam.

  2. Single-photon, Dual-color, Polarimetric Laser Altimeter Measurements of Lake Ice Freeboard, Roughness and Scattering Properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harding, D. J.; Dabney, P.; Valett, S.; Shuman, C. A.

    2009-12-01

    The Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar (SIMPL) is an advanced technology airborne laser altimeter developed with a focus on remote sensing of ice sheets and sea ice including their melt state. Its development was sponsored by the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program. SIMPL utilizes micropulse single photon laser ranging at 532 nm (green) and 1064 nm (near-infrared) wavelengths in a four-beam push-broom configuration. Currently, the instrument is capable of flight altitudes of up to 5000 m; this spreads the 4 profiles over a cross-track distance of 30 m providing an estimate of both along-track and cross-track slope magnitudes and directions. For both wavelengths on each beam, depolarization is measured as the ratio of received energy perpendicular and parallel to the plane-polarized transmit beams. The precision of the single photon ranges is 8 cm and a range observation is acquired every 5 to 10 cm at airborne flight speeds. This performance enables measurement of ice freeboard and surface roughness at 5 m length scales based on the height dispersion of single photon ranges aggregated along the profiles. The depolarization ratio is a function of the scattering properties of the target, specifically the proportions of specular reflection and surface and volume scattering. The relationship between surface roughness and depolarization at green and near-IR wavelengths will be illustrated using data acquired during flights over Lake Erie ice cover in February 2009, an analog for sea ice. Observed in simultaneously acquired digital video frames, the ice cover appears to be a heterogeneous amalgamation of ice types, thicknesses and ages. The lake ice is covered by snow in places and contains numerous open water leads to enable ice freeboard detection relative to the water surface. The depolarization ratio differentiates open water, young clear ice, older granular ice and snow cover. The variability of the ratio along a

  3. 14 CFR Appendix E to Part 43 - Altimeter System Test and Inspection

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... further, in the same manner as before, until atmospheric pressure is reached. The reading of the altimeter... atmospheric pressure) shall not differ from the original atmospheric pressure reading by more than the... II during an interval of 1 minute. (vi) Barometric scale error. At constant atmospheric pressure,...

  4. 14 CFR Appendix E to Part 43 - Altimeter System Test and Inspection

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... further, in the same manner as before, until atmospheric pressure is reached. The reading of the altimeter... atmospheric pressure) shall not differ from the original atmospheric pressure reading by more than the... II during an interval of 1 minute. (vi) Barometric scale error. At constant atmospheric pressure,...

  5. 14 CFR Appendix E to Part 43 - Altimeter System Test and Inspection

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... further, in the same manner as before, until atmospheric pressure is reached. The reading of the altimeter... atmospheric pressure) shall not differ from the original atmospheric pressure reading by more than the... II during an interval of 1 minute. (vi) Barometric scale error. At constant atmospheric pressure,...

  6. 14 CFR Appendix E to Part 43 - Altimeter System Test and Inspection

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ... further, in the same manner as before, until atmospheric pressure is reached. The reading of the altimeter... atmospheric pressure) shall not differ from the original atmospheric pressure reading by more than the... II during an interval of 1 minute. (vi) Barometric scale error. At constant atmospheric pressure,...

  7. 14 CFR Appendix E to Part 43 - Altimeter System Test and Inspection

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... further, in the same manner as before, until atmospheric pressure is reached. The reading of the altimeter... atmospheric pressure) shall not differ from the original atmospheric pressure reading by more than the... II during an interval of 1 minute. (vi) Barometric scale error. At constant atmospheric pressure,...

  8. Space-based Swath Imaging Laser Altimeter for Cryospheric Topographic and Surface Property Mapping

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abshire, James; Harding, David; Shuman, Chris; Sun, Xiaoli; Dabney, Phil; Krainak, Michael; Scambos, Ted

    2005-01-01

    Uncertainties in the response of the Greenland and Antarctic polar ice sheets to global climatic change inspired the development of ICESat/GLAS as part of NASA's Earth Observing System. ICESat's primary purpose is the measurement of ice sheet surface elevation profiles with sufficient accuracy, spatial density, and temporal coverage so that elevation changes can be derived with an accuracy of <1.5 cm/year for averages of measurements over the ice sheets with areas of 100 x 100 km. The primary means to achieve this elevation change detection is spatial averaging of elevation differences at cross-overs between ascending and descending profiles in areas of low ice surface slope. Additional information is included in the original extended abstract.

  9. A ground track control algorithm for the Topographic Mapping Laser Altimeter (TMLA)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blaes, V.; Mcintosh, R.; Roszman, L.; Cooley, J.

    1993-01-01

    The results of an analysis of an algorithm that will provide autonomous onboard orbit control using orbits determined with Global Positioning System (GPS) data. The algorithm uses the GPS data to (1) compute the ground track error relative to a fixed longitude grid, and (2) determine the altitude adjustment required to correct the longitude error. A program was written on a personal computer (PC) to test the concept for numerous altitudes and values of solar flux using a simplified orbit model including only the J sub 2 zonal harmonic and simple orbit decay computations. The algorithm was then implemented in a precision orbit propagation program having a full range of perturbations. The analysis showed that, even with all perturbations (including actual time histories of solar flux variation), the algorithm could effectively control the spacecraft ground track and yield more than 99 percent Earth coverage in the time required to complete one coverage cycle on the fixed grid (220 to 230 days depending on altitude and overlap allowance).

  10. Integration of Chang'E-2 imagery and LRO laser altimeter data with a combined block adjustment for precision lunar topographic modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Bo; Hu, Han; Guo, Jian

    2014-04-01

    Lunar topographic information is essential for lunar scientific investigations and exploration missions. Lunar orbiter imagery and laser altimeter data are two major data sources for lunar topographic modeling. Most previous studies have processed the imagery and laser altimeter data separately for lunar topographic modeling, and there are usually inconsistencies between the derived lunar topographic models. This paper presents a novel combined block adjustment approach to integrate multiple strips of the Chinese Chang'E-2 imagery and NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Laser Altimeter (LOLA) data for precision lunar topographic modeling. The participants of the combined block adjustment include the orientation parameters of the Chang'E-2 images, the intra-strip tie points derived from the Chang'E-2 stereo images of the same orbit, the inter-strip tie points derived from the overlapping area of two neighbor Chang'E-2 image strips, and the LOLA points. Two constraints are incorporated into the combined block adjustment including a local surface constraint and an orbit height constraint, which are specifically designed to remedy the large inconsistencies between the Chang'E-2 and LOLA data sets. The output of the combined block adjustment is the improved orientation parameters of the Chang'E-2 images and ground coordinates of the LOLA points, from which precision lunar topographic models can be generated. The performance of the developed approach was evaluated using the Chang'E-2 imagery and LOLA data in the Sinus Iridum area and the Apollo 15 landing area. The experimental results revealed that the mean absolute image residuals between the Chang'E-2 image strips were drastically reduced from tens of pixels before the adjustment to sub-pixel level after adjustment. Digital elevation models (DEMs) with 20 m resolution were generated using the Chang'E-2 imagery after the combined block adjustment. Comparison of the Chang'E-2 DEM with the LOLA DEM showed a good