Our understanding of the Mars atmosphere and the coupled atmospheric processes that drive its seasonal cycles is limited by a lack of observation data, particularly measurements that capture diurnal and seasonal variations on a global scale. As outlined in the 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey and the recent Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) Goals Document, near-polar-orbital measurements of height-resolved aerosol backscatter and wind profiles are a high-priority for the scientific community and would be valuable science products as part of a next-generation orbital science package. To address these needs, we have designed and tested a breadboard version of a direct detection atmospheric wind lidar for Mars orbit. It uses a single-frequency, seeded Nd:YAG laser ring oscillator operating at 1064 nm (4 kHz repetition rate), with a 30-ns pulse duration amplified to 4 mJ pulse energy. The receiver uses a Fabry-Perot etalon as part of a dual-edge optical discrimination technique to isolate the Doppler-induced frequency shift of the backscattered photons. To detect weak aerosol backscatter profiles, the instrument uses a 4x4 photon-counting HgCdTe APD detector with a 7 MHz bandwidth and < 0.4 fW/Hz<sup>1/2 </sup>noise equivalent power. With the MARLI lidar breadboard instrument, we were able to measure Doppler shifts continuously between 1 and 30 m/s by using a rotating chopper wheel to impart a Doppler shift to incident laser pulses. We then coupled the transmitter and receiver systems to a laser ranging telescope at the Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (GGAO) to measure backscatter and Doppler wind profiles in the atmosphere from the ground. We measured a 5.3 ± 0.8 m/s wind speed from clouds in the planetary boundary layer at a range of 4 to 6 km. This measurement was confirmed with a range-over-time measurement to the same clouds as well as compared to EMC meteorological models. Here we describe the lidar approach and the breadboard instrument, and report some early results from ongoing field experiments.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has been developing lidar to remotely measure CO<sub>2</sub> and CH<sub>4</sub> in the Earth’s atmosphere. The ultimate goal is to make space-based satellite measurements with global coverage. We are working on maturing the technology readiness of a fiber-based, 1.57-micron wavelength laser transmitter designed for use in atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> remote-sensing. To this end, we are building a ruggedized prototype to demonstrate the required power and performance and survive the required environment. <p> </p>We are building a fiber-based master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) laser transmitter architecture. The laser is a wavelength-locked, single frequency, externally modulated DBR operating at 1.57-micron followed by erbium-doped fiber amplifiers. The last amplifier stage is a polarization-maintaining, very-large-mode-area fiber with ~1000 μm2 effective area pumped by a Raman fiber laser. The optical output is single-frequency, one microsecond pulses with >450 μJ pulse energy, 7.5 KHz repetition rate, single spatial mode, and < 20 dB polarization extinction.