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High-level products such as the topographic maps and gravity fields of Mars, the Moon, and Mercury were produced through geodetic analyses. They have had great impact on the science community, enabling advances in many other fields of planetary science. The support of planetary geodesy capabilities at GSFC will continue this expertise to benefit planetary science at NASA and beyond.

Planetary Geodesy

Co-Leads: Erwan Mazarico and Michael Barker

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has an established expertise of high-impact analysis of foundational geodetic datasets, from spacecraft radiometric tracking to laser altimetry. This expertise has primarily been built up through and supported by numerous instruments and missions, and is unique within NASA centers. We strive to ensure that these datasets remain available at GSFC to benefit NASA and the entire planetary science community.

  • Maintain and further develop core capabilities to analyze the geodetic and geophysical data returned from NASA missions and instruments
  • Develop, archive, and analyze high-quality gravity fields, topographic maps, dynamical orientation parameters, atmospheric density profiles, planetary ephemerides
  • Produce and archive high-precision reconstructed trajectories of spacecraft, from all available tracking data
  • Obtain critical measurements of upper atmosphere densities at Mars to provide constraints to atmospheric models and benefit Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) operations
  • Develop new measurement techniques for the future of space geodesy