Advertisement

Space Science Reviews

, Volume 131, Issue 1–4, pp 451–479 | Cite as

The Mercury Laser Altimeter Instrument for the MESSENGER Mission

  • John F. Cavanaugh
  • James C. Smith
  • Xiaoli Sun
  • Arlin E. Bartels
  • Luis Ramos-Izquierdo
  • Danny J. Krebs
  • Jan F. McGarry
  • Raymond Trunzo
  • Anne Marie Novo-Gradac
  • Jamie L. Britt
  • Jerry Karsh
  • Richard B. Katz
  • Alan T. Lukemire
  • Richard Szymkiewicz
  • Daniel L. Berry
  • Joseph P. Swinski
  • Gregory A. Neumann
  • Maria T. Zuber
  • David E. Smith
Article

Abstract

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 August 3, 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. MLA will sample the planet’s surface to within a 1-m range error when the line-of-sight range to Mercury is less than 1,200 km under spacecraft nadir pointing or the slant range is less than 800 km. The altimeter measurements will be used to determine the planet’s forced physical 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 1,064 nm. This paper describes the instrument design, prelaunch testing, calibration, and results of postlaunch testing.

Keywords

Mercury MESSENGER Topography Laser altimeter 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. J.B. Abshire, X. Sun, R.S. Afzal, Appl. Optics 39, 2449–2460 (2000) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. G. Chin et al., Space Sci. Rev. (2007). doi: 10.1007/s11214-007-9153-y Google Scholar
  3. J.J. Degnan, J. Geodyn. 34, 503–549 (2002) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. J. Garvin et al., Phys. Chem. Earth 23, 1053–1068 (1998) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. S.E. Hawkins, III et al., Space Sci. Rev. (2007, this issue). doi: 10.1007/s11214-007-9266-3 Google Scholar
  6. D.J. Krebs, A.M. Novo-Gradac, S.X. Li, S.J. Lindauer, R.S. Afzal, A.W. Yu, Appl. Optics 44, 1715–1718 (2005) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  7. N. Paschalidis et al., IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 49, 1156–1163 (2002) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  8. L. Ramos-Izquierdo et al., Appl. Optics 44, 1748–1760 (2005) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  9. D.E. Smith et al., Science 279, 1686–1692 (1998) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  10. D.E. Smith et al., Science 311, 53 (2006) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. S.C. Solomon et al., Planet. Space Sci. 49, 1445–1465 (2001) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  12. X. Sun, J.F. Cavanaugh, J.C. Smith, A.E. Bartels, Proceedings of the 22nd International Laser Radar Conference (ILRC 2004). Special Publication SP-561, European Space Agency, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 2004, pp. 961–964 Google Scholar
  13. M.T. Zuber et al., J. Geophys. Res. 97, 7781–7797 (1992) ADSGoogle Scholar
  14. H.J. Zwally et al., J. Geodyn. 34, 405–446 (2002) CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Cavanaugh
    • 1
  • James C. Smith
    • 1
  • Xiaoli Sun
    • 1
  • Arlin E. Bartels
    • 1
  • Luis Ramos-Izquierdo
    • 1
  • Danny J. Krebs
    • 1
  • Jan F. McGarry
    • 1
  • Raymond Trunzo
    • 2
  • Anne Marie Novo-Gradac
    • 1
  • Jamie L. Britt
    • 1
  • Jerry Karsh
    • 1
  • Richard B. Katz
    • 1
  • Alan T. Lukemire
    • 4
  • Richard Szymkiewicz
    • 3
  • Daniel L. Berry
    • 1
  • Joseph P. Swinski
    • 1
  • Gregory A. Neumann
    • 1
  • Maria T. Zuber
    • 5
  • David E. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  2. 2.Swales AerospaceBeltsvilleMDUSA
  3. 3.Orbital SciencesGreenbeltUSA
  4. 4.Space Power ElectronicsKathleenUSA
  5. 5.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations