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Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS)

NSSDCA ID: 1994-020A-03

Mission Name: STS 59/SRL 1
Principal Investigator:Dr. Henry G. Reichle, Jr.


The objectives of the Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS) instrument were to measure the global distribution of carbon monoxide (CO) in the troposphere and its role in global tropospheric chemistry. The MAPS instrument, flown on two previous Shuttle flights, is a precursor to EOS-era instruments. The MAPS instrument was able to detect CO and nitrous oxide using gas filter radiometry to measure the IR absorption wavelength band in the atmosphere for these trace gases (4.67 micrometer). The MAPS instrument viewed the Earth simultaneously through three cells, one cell filled with CO, one filled with nitrous oxide, and one filled with helium (which does not absorb at these wavelengths). The difference in the energy received as seen through cell pairs enabled researchers to derive the amount of CO and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. The nitrous oxide measurements provided a method for automatically rejecting cloud-contaminated observations of CO. The MAPS instrument consisted of the optical subassembly, which contained the optical elements, blackbodies, gas cells, detectors, preamplifiers, and calibration unit; the electronics subassembly, which housed the signal processing and control circuits; the flight tape recorder subassembly; and the aerial camera subassembly, which provided correlative cloud cover photos during the daylight portion of the flight.

Alternate Names

  • MAPS

Facts in Brief

Mass: 84 kg
Power (avg): 73 W
Bit rate (avg): 0.042 kbps

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Earth Science: Atmospheric Chemistry

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Henry G. Reichle, Jr.Principal InvestigatorNASA Langley Research Center

Selected References

  • Reichle, H. G., Jr., et al., The distribution of middle tropospheric carbon monoxide during early October 1984, J. Geophys. Res., 95, No. D7, 9845-9856, doi:10.1029/JD095iD07p09845, June 1990.
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