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Contact: Elizabeth Zubritsky
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

MESSENGER Laser Altimeter

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Caption: MESSENGER's Mercury Laser Altimeter sends out laser pulses that hit the ground and return to the instrument. The amount of light that returns for each pulse gives the reflectance at that point on the surface. The amount of time it takes the pulse to make its trip indicates how far away that point on the surface is, allowing the topography to be mapped.

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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Related news release: Altimeter built at Goddard helped identify ice on Mercury

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