The Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA) was selected by NASA in August 1988 as the operational altimeter for the Mars Observer Mission. Mars Observer is scheduled for launch in September 1992 and to arrive at Mars in August 1993. It should start mapping measurements from a polar Mars orbit in December 1993 and should complete its mission in December 1995. MOLA is designed to measure the range from Mars Observer to the Mars surface at a 10-Hz rate continuously for 2 years. The instrument is mounted on the Mars Observer Nadir Panel and has no moving parts.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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