🧐Mars Daily Facts Part 4

MOLA, how did we know about Mars’s surface

Issue 4: Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) was one of the five instruments on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, which operated in Mars orbit from September 1997 to November 2006. However, the MOLA instrument transmitted altimetry data only until June 2001 before it shut down. The MOLA instrument had transmitted infrared (for its definition you could check a dictionary) laser pulses toward Mars at the speed of 10 pulses/sec and measured the time of flight to determine the distance of the MGS spacecraft to the Martian surface. The range measurements resulted in precise topographic maps of Mars. The precision maps are applicable to studies in geophysics, geology, and atmospheric circulation. MOLA also functioned as a passive radiometer and measured the radiance of the surface of Mars at 1064 nanometers.

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