Mars MGS MOLA Global Shaded Relief 463m v1
This map is based on data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) (Smith et al, 2001) , an instrument on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft (Albee and others, 2001). The image used for the base of this map represents more than 600 million measurements gathered between 1999 and 2001, adjusted for consistency (Neumann and others, 2001, 2003) and converted to planetary radii. These have been converted to elevations above the areoid as determined from a Martian gravity field solution GMM-2B (Lemoine and others, 2001), truncated to degree and order 50, and oriented according to current standards (see below). The average accuracy of each point is originally ~100 meters in horizontal position and ~1 meter in radius (Neumann and others, 2001). However, the total elevation uncertainty is at least ±3 m due to the global error in the areoid (±1.8 meters according to Lemoine and others ) and regional uncertainties in its shape (G.A. Neumann, written commun., 2002). Pixel resolution of this map is 463 meters per pixel (m).
 Albee, A.L., Arvidson, R.E., Palluconi, Frank, Thorpe, Thomas, 2001, Overview of the Mars Global Surveyor mission: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 106, no. E10, p. 23,291–23,316.
de Vaucouleurs, Gerard, Davies, M.E., and Sturms, F.M., Jr., 1973, Mariner 9 areographic coordinate system, in Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 78, p. 4395–4404.
Duxbury, T.C., Kirk, R.L., Archinal, B.A., and Neumann, G.A., 2002, Mars Geodesy/Cartography Working Group recommendations on Mars cartographic constants and coordinate systems, in Joint International Symposium on Geospatial Theory, Processing and Applications, Ottawa, Canada, 2002 Commission IV, Working Group 9—Extraterrestrial Mapping, Proceedings: Ottawa, Canada, International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing [http://www.isprs.org/commission4/proceedings/paper.html].
Greeley, Ronald, and Batson, R.M., 1990, Planetary mapping: Cambridge University Press, p. 274–275. Lemoine, F.G., Smith, D.E., Rowlands, D.D., Zuber, M.T., Neumann, G.A., Chinn, D.S., Pavlis, D.E., 2001, An improved solution of the gravity field of Mars (GMM-2B) from Mars Global Surveyor: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 106, no. E10, p. 23,359–23,376.
 Neumann, G.A., Rowlands, D.D., Lemoine, F.G., Smith, D.E., and Zuber, M.T., 2001, Crossover analysis of Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 106, no. E10, p. 23,753–23,768.
 Neumann, G.A., Smith, D.E., and Zuber, M.T., 2003, "Two Mars years of clouds detected by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.", Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 108, NO. E4, 5023, 2003.
Seidelmann, P.K. (chair), Abalakin, V.K., Bursa, Milan, Davies, M.E., De Bergh, Catherine, Lieske, J.H., Oberst, Juergen, Simon, J.L., Standish, E.M., Stooke, P.J., and Thomas, P.C., 2002, Report of the IAU/IAG Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements of the Planets and Satellites—2000: Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, v. 82, p. 83–110.
Smith, D.E., Sjogren, W.L., Tyler, G.L., Balmino, G., Lemoine, F.G., and Konopliv, A.S., 1999, The gravity field of Mars—Results from Mars Global Surveyor: Science, v. 286, p. 94–96.
 Smith, D.E., Zuber, M.T., Frey, H.V., Garvin, J.B., Head, J.W., Muhleman, D.O., Pettengill, G.H., Phillips, R.J., Solomon, S.C., Zwally, H.J., Banerdt, W.B., Duxbury, T.C., Golombek, M.P., Lemoine, F.G., Neumann, G.A., Rowlands, D.D., Aharonson, Oded, Ford, P.G., Ivanov, A.B., Johnson, C.L., McGovern, P.J., Abshire, J.B., Afzal, R.S., and Sun, Xiaoli, 2001, Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter—Experiment summary after the first year of global mapping of Mars: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 106, no. E10, p. 23,689–23,722.
Wessel, Paul, and Smith, W.H.F., 1998, New, improved version of Generic Mapping Tools released: Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, v. 79, no. 47, p. 579.
- USGS Astrogeology Science Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA
- Added to Astropedia
- 10 February 2014
- 8 July 2019
The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) produced a high-resolution global topographic model and geodetic framework that enables precise targeting, safe landing, and surface mobility to carry out exploratory activities.
- Geospatial Data Presentation Form
- Digital Elevation Model, Topographic Map, Grey Scale, Shaded-Relief Map
- Online Linkage
- Native Data Set Environment
- ISIS v3
- Supplemental Information
- http://pds-geosciences.wustl.edu/missions/mgs/mola.html, http://mola.gsfc.nasa.gov/
- Geographic Information System (GIS), Topography, Remote Sensing
- Mars Global Surveyor
Contact and Distribution
- Access Constraints
- public domain
- Use Constraints
Data Status and Quality
- Currentness Reference
- Publication date
- Update Frequency
- None planned
- Logical Consistency Report
- The average accuracy of each point is originally ~100 meters in horizontal position and ~1 meter in radius (Neumann and others, 2001). However, the total elevation uncertainty is at least ±3 m due to the global error in the areoid (±1.8 meters according to Lemoine and others ) and regional uncertainties in its shape (G.A. Neumann, written commun., 2002). The MOLA data were initially referenced to an internally consistent inertial coordinate system, derived from tracking of the MGS spacecraft. These values include the orientation of the north pole of Mars (including the effects of precession), the rotation rate of Mars, and a value for W0 of 176.630°, where W0 is the angle along the equator to the east, between the 0° meridian and the equator’s intersection with the celestial equator at the standard epoch J2000.0 (Seidelmann and others, 2002). This value of W0 was chosen (Duxbury and others, 2002) in order to place the 0° meridian through the center of the small (~500 m) crater Airy-0, within the crater Airy (Seidelmann and others, 2002; de Vaucouleurs and others, 1973). Longitude increases to the east and latitude is planetocentric as allowed by IAU/IAG standards (Seidelmann and others, 2002) and in accordance with current NASA and USGS standards (Duxbury and others, 2002).
- Completeness Report
Data are very sparse near the two poles (above 87° north and below 87° south latitude) because these areas were sampled by only a few off-nadir altimetry tracks. Gaps between tracks of 1–2 km are common, and some gaps of up to 12 km occur near the equator. DEM points located in these gaps in MOLA data were filled by interpolation.
- Process Date
- 31 March 2003
- Process Description
The measurements were converted into a digital elevation model (DEM; G.A. Neumann, written commun., 2002; Neumann and others, 2001; Smith and others 2001) using Generic Mapping Tools software (Wessel and Smith, 1998), with a resolution of 128 pixels per degree. In projection, the pixels are 463 meters in size at the equator.
To create the topographic base image, the original DEM was produced by the MOLA team in Simple Cylindrical projection with a resolution of 128 pixels per degree. A grayscale shaded relief was generated from each DEM with a sun angle of 45° from horizontal and a sun azimuth of 315°, as measured clockwise from north, and a vertical exaggeration of 100%.
- Horizontal Positional Accuracy Value
- Horizontal Positional Accuracy Report
- Accurate to Control Net
- Vertical Positional Accuracy Value
- Vertical Positional Accuracy Report
- Accurate to Control Net
- Entity and Attribute Overview
- Elevation in meters
- Entity and Attribute Detailed Description
- Elevations above the areoid as determined from a Martian gravity field solution GMM-2B (Lemoine and others, 2001)
- PDS Status
- PDS 3 Like
- Source Originator
- Planetary Data System Geosciences Node
- Source Publication Date
- 31 March 2003
- Source Title
- Mars Global Surveyor: MOLA MEGDRs
- Source Online Linkage
- http://geo.pds.nasa.gov/missions/mgs/megdr.html , http://pds-geosciences.wustl.edu/missions/mgs/index.htm
- Type of Source Media
- Attribute Accuracy Report
- Accurate to Control Net
- Minimum Latitude
- Maximum Latitude
- Minimum Longitude
- Maximum Longitude
- Direct Spatial Reference Method
- Object Type
- Lines (pixels)
- Samples (pixels)
- Bit Type
- Quad Name
- Radius A
- Radius C
- Pixel Resolution (meters/pixel)
- Scale (pixels/degree)
- Horizontal Coordinate System Units
- Map Projection Name
- Simple Cylindrical
- Latitude Type
- Longitude Direction
- Positive East
- Longitude Domain
- -180 to 180