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    Calibrating mars orbiter laser altimeter pulse widths at mars science laboratory candidate landing sites

    Poole, W. and Muller, J.-P. and Gupta, S. and Grindrod, Peter M. (2014) Calibrating mars orbiter laser altimeter pulse widths at mars science laboratory candidate landing sites. Planetary and Space Science 99 , pp. 118-127. ISSN 0032-0633.

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    Accurate estimates of surface roughness allow quantitative comparisons between planetary terrains. These comparisons enable us to improve our understanding of commonly occurring surface processes, and develop a more complete analysis of candidate landing and roving sites. A (secondary) science goal of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter was to map surface roughness within the laser footprint using the backscatter pulse-widths of individual pulses, at finer scales than can be derived from the elevation profiles. On arrival at the surface, these pulses are thought to have diverged to between 70 and 170 m, corresponding to surface roughness estimates at 35 and 70 m baselines respectively; however, the true baseline and relationship remains unknown. This work compares the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter pulse-widths to surface roughness estimates at various baselines from high-resolution digital terrain models at the final four candidate landing sites of Mars Science Laboratory. The objective was to determine the true baseline at which surface roughness can be estimated, and the relationship between surface roughness and the pulse-widths, to improve the reliability of current global surface roughness estimates from pulse-width maps. The results seem to indicate that pulse-widths from individual shots are an unreliable indicator of surface roughness, and instead, the pulse-widths should be downsampled to indicate regional roughness, with the Slope-Corrected pulse-width dataset performing best. Where Rough Patches are spatially large compared to the footprint of the pulse, pulse-widths can be used as an indicator of surface roughness at baselines of 150 to 300 m; where these patches are spatially small, as observed at Mawrth Vallis, pulse-widths show no correlation to surface roughness. This suggests that a more complex relationship exists, with varying correlations observed, which appear dependent on the distribution of roughness across the sites.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Mars, MOLA, MSL, Surface roughness
    School: School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2014 12:00
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 23:20


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