MESSENGER Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)

ODE:Mercury, Venus



PDS Geosciences Node: PDS Source Information

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The MESSENGER Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) instrument is a solid-state pulsed laser that measures the distance between the spacecraft and the surface of Mercury to a 30-cm precision at ranges up to 1000 km. Data from the MLA will be used to map northern hemisphere topography and the altimetry of polar craters.

MESSENGER MLA Products have been converted to the PDS4 standard. They are grouped into PDS4 collections based on processing level.

PDS4 Collection


PDS4 Bundle

Raw Data

The MESSENGER MLA raw product collection consists of uncalibrated observations from the MLA instrument. There are three product types in this collection, including raw science products, instrument status, and hardware diagnostic information. A single raw product file typically contains data collected over one Earth day.


Calibrated Data

The MESSENGER MLA calibrated product collection contains MLA science and auxiliary data products calibrated to physical units. The collection also contains calibrated, geolocated range data as profile measurements of the planetary radius.


Derived Data

The MESSENGER MLA derived product collection contains MLA gridded data records and reduced data records.


More information about MLA can be found in:

  • Cavanaugh, J. F., et al., 2007, The Mercury Laser Altimeter Instrument for the MESSENGER Mission, Space Science Reviews, 131, p. 451-479, doi: 10.1007/s11214-007-9273-4.