The MVACS tunable diode laser spectrometers

Randy D. May, Siamak Forouhar, David Crisp, W. Stephen Woodward, David A. Paige, Asmin Pathare, William V. Boynton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Two independent tunable diode laser spectrometers are resident aboard the Mars Polar Lander as part of the Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor payload. One spectrometer is located on the meteorological mast for measurements of H2O and CO2 in the free atmosphere, and the other serves as the H2O and CO2 analyzer for the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer. Water vapor is measured using a tunable diode laser operating at 1.37 μm, while CO2 is measured using a second laser operating near 2.05 μm. The 2.05 μm laser also has isotopic analysis capability. In addition to the major CO2 isotopomer (12C16O16O), analyses of 13C16O16O and 12C18O16O in the atmosphere and in the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer are possible under certain conditions. The spectrometers were designed and built at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and have their heritage in a series of tunable diode laser spectrometers developed for Earth atmospheric studies using high-altitude aircraft and balloon platforms. The 1.37 μm diode laser on the meteorological mast will provide the first in situ measurements of water vapor in the Martian boundary layer, with a detection sensitivity an order of magnitude greater than the water vapor abundances inferred from the remote-sensing observations by the Viking Orbiters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1999JE001146
Pages (from-to)17673-17682
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue numberE8
StatePublished - Aug 25 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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