Glossary – L

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Lagrange point 1

La Niña

Cold-water conditions off the western tropical coasts of the Americas, occurring irregularly and occasionally following El Niño conditions, caused by stiffening trade winds and regenerated fisheries, drought in the central and eastern Pacific, and rain in the western Pacific.

Laser Altimeter

Uses a laser that transmits short pulses of infrared light and/or visible light. Photons reflected back to the spacecraft from the surface of the Earth and from the atmosphere, including the inside of clouds, will be collected in a telescope. The height measurement from the altimeter to the ocean surface is useful in various oceanographic applications. Determination of sea surface topography is useful for marine gravity determinations, seafloor bathymetry estimations, and dynamic circulation of the oceans.


Lunar Exploration Analysis Group


Low Earth Orbit

Light Detection and Ranging

An active remote sensing system that can be operated in either a profiling or scanning mode using pulses of light to illuminate the terrain.


Lasr Interferometer Space Antenna


Local Interstellar Medium


The Lunar Planetary Institute


Lunar Precursor Robotic Program



Living With a Star