Video Descriptive Text for Leaders in Lidar | Chapter 1



00:00 Montage of various laser beams in green, red, yellow and purple. A technician looks closely at one beam as the word “LASER” is superimposed on the image.

00:03 Shots of a laser cutting into a metal slab, followed by two striking yellow beams emanating from two large astronomical observatories beneath a sky full of stars, followed by a female patient undergoing a laser facial treatment in a medical facility.

00:07 A close up of another mechanical arm using a laser to cut a slab, followed by a dazzling laser light show with greens and blue lights shining toward the camera

00:09 Two quick shots of a close up of a test laser in a lab, green light glowing from a circular metal opening as the housing slowly rotates, followed by a static shot of a long green laser beam, passing through various optical apertures and a microscope in a lab setting

00:12 Modern footage of a NASA lab technician wearing protective eyewear, looking at a computer readout of the alignment of a laser beam.

00:14 Three lab technicians in white gowns and protective eyewear stand in a room flooded with blue and purple lighting as a device with a horizontal line of several blue laser beams lowers slowly toward the bottom of the frame.

00:15 Older footage of a device known as the Airborne Topographic Mapper is mounted over an opening in the floor of an airplane. Green laser light is visible atop the red housing of the device.

00:16 In older footage, two men sitting in a room point to a monitor and discuss an observation

00:17 A montage beginning with an animation showing the ICESat-2 satellite orbiting the Arctic as 6 green laser beams flash out of an aperture. Next is a view through the opening in the airplane where the Airborne Topographic Mapper is mounted and the shoreline of Assateague, Virginia, is visible directly below.

00:19 A 3-D image slightly rotates with millions of small dots of green, yellow, red and orange creating the picture of tall tropical trees and undergrowth. Next, a visualization of the Moon with green and blue contour lines surrounding craters, and as the camera rotates, the crater interior fills with blue and green light. Next, Mars rotates upward to show the icy South Pole. View of a dark gray rocky asteroid with many craggy features visible. Finally, another asteroid is wrapped with a grid of green, red, yellow and orange representing elevations.

00:25 Slow zoom in to a laser optical bench with a green beam pulsing through components.

00:27 The series and episode title appear, “Leaders in Lidar, Chapter 1: The Laser Is Better.” The background is a blue grid slowly rotating with red, blue, green and purple laser beams and images of people and instruments swirling around.

00:34 VHS scrambled lines roll down a black screen as it transitions to an archival shot of very large white 1980s computers in a NASA lab

00:36 The camera zooms out to reveal a man pushing some buttons on the large computer, followed by a different man in front of two large monitors with satellite imagery displayed typing commands into an old computer terminal.

00:39 A large silver and white spacecraft being built in a cleanroom, followed by a man in a white suit wheeling in a large black and red component into a magnetic testing facility

00:43 Camera zooms out as a middle-aged woman and an older man sit in front of old 1980s computers.

00:45 An aerial view of the Goddard campus in the 1980s with scattered brick nondescript buildings and lots of trees

00:47 Static shot of a concrete sign in front of tulips reading “NASA Goddard Space Flight Center”

00:49 Center Director Noel Hinners, a middle-aged man in a gray suit, speaks at a lectern in old footage

00:51 Graphic appears reading “Noel Hinners, Director, Goddard Space Flight Center, 1982-1987”

00:55 Cutaway of 1960s spacecraft being built in cleanroom with engineers inspecting it

00:58 Back to Noel Hinners speaking at a lectern

01:13 Slow pan on photo of Jim Garvin, a young man, in front of an airplane from the 1980s

01:18 Present day Jim Garvin speaking in front of a large screen with a red, green and blue topographic map of Mars

01:20 Graphic appears reading “Jim Garvin, MOLA Co-Investigator, NASA Goddard Chief Scientist”

01:24 Archival footage of NASA engineers and scientists working with old computers

01:29 Archival photos of Jim Abshire, John Degnan and Jack Bufton, middle-aged men, from the 1980s. The last photo shows Bufton with Garvin in the desert.

01:34 Graphic appears reading “voice of Jack Bufton, MOLA Lead Engineer”

01:37 Archival footage and illustrations of satellites with hundreds of small reflective surfaces

01:40 Zoom in of an outdoor laser ranging facility with a white dome and a blue laser beam extending into the night sky

01:45 Bufton and Garvin appear in an old photo with other men in front of a NASA airplane

01:53 Aerial video of the coast by Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

02:01 Another old photo of Bufton, Garvin and others in front of a different NASA plane

02:04 Old photo showing Jack Bufton underneath an airplane preparing an instrument

02:07 A photo of a different young man adjusting something on the top of the small airplane inside a hangar

02:09 A photo inside the airplane, two men install a large silver cylinder

02:11 A photo of the airplane in flight against a blue sky with small clouds underneath

02:15 Various photos of the Arizona desert with Bufton, Garvin and others walking around outside

02:27 Old photo of Garvin inside the airplane flight deck talking to pilot

02:34 An old photo showing a team but with everyone slightly blurred except for Garvin and Dave Smith in the center

02:44 David E. Smith, an older British man, speaks in front of a bookshelf into a video call

02:46 Graphic appears reading “David E. Smith, MOLA Principal Investigator”

02:59 Panning down an old official document describing the terms for developing the MOLA instrument. The document is highlighted in green with the phrase “Does not exceed $10 million”

03:09 Back to Smith on a video call

03:15 Back to Garvin in studio interview

03:19 Zoom into another old official document reading “MOLA, Mars Observer Laser Altimeter, Experiment Operations Plan (EOP).” The “O” in “MOLA” is stylized as Mars with a satellite orbiting it.

03:25 Back to Garvin in studio interview

03:28 Old photo of Garvin in Arizona desert holding a tall thin instrument and wearing a MOLA t-shirt

03:32 Old photo of Garvin in a flight jumpsuit inside a small aircraft near a sign reading “Signal Kit 2”

03:34 Back to Garvin in studio interview

03:38 Archival interview of Garvin from the early 1990s, wearing a brown blazer and seated in front of a computer and a model of the MOLA instrument

04:02 Back to present day Garvin in studio

04:05 A visualization of Mars from MOLA data. The surface is rolling toward camera as craters and valleys colored in reds, yellows, orange and green come into focus

04:12 A montage of men of various ages gesturing with their hands indicating how laser beams bounce off a surface and return to a detector

04:18 A fullscreen graphic with blocky retro yellow text reading “This is a laser altimeter:” over a purple glowing grid

04:19 A montage of scientists and engineers intercut with each other, as well as a variety of old and new animations of laser altimeters emitting a beam, bouncing off a planet’s surface and returning to the satellite

04:40 A stylized wireframe animated satellite over a generic mountainous terrain, sending out a small yellow beam while a clock shows time elapsed

04:46 Same stylized animated satellite in profile over a yellow wireframe hilly terrain, sending yellow beams out to the surface, which bounce back as single digits appear near the satellite

04:51 Back to Garvin in studio interview

04:54 Fullscreen graphic showing an old photo of Pettengill, a smiling white man, holding a Venus globe and text reading “Gordon Pettengill, Radio Astronomer and Planetary Physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” A rotating image of Venus is in the background

04:58 Back to Garvin in studio

05:02 Old footage showing components spinning and green laser light in the Airborne Topographic Mapper inside an airplane

05:04 Two engineers in white bunny suits test a small toaster-sized laser ranging device in a lab

05:05 A visualization showing the Arctic covered in hundreds of green intersecting lines with an inset showing a profile of the ice thickness measured by a green laser beam

05:06 A visualization of multicolored data lines rotating clockwise over Mercury. Also a color bar on the right reading “Elevation (kilometers)”

05:08 A visualization flying over the surface of the Moon with many craters and shadows

05:10 Close ups of old official documents referring to the review boards for the Mars Observer Project. Bufton’s and Smith’s names are visible

05:14 Jim Abshire, an older white man in a blue blazer, sits in front of a wooden bookcase, speaking in a video call

05:17 Graphic appears reading “Jim Abshire, MOLA Instrument Scientist”

05:30 Old photo of MOLA team, about 28 people, mostly men and two women

05:40 Old photo of three engineers inside a plane. Jan McGarry, here a young woman in a headset seated, and Jim Abshire standing behind her

05:46 Jan McGarry, an older woman, sits in her wood-paneled home office on a video call

05:49 Graphic appears reading “Jan McGarry, MOLA Computer Systems Engineer.”

05:58 Old photo of engineer Bryan Blair in a blue flight suit in front of an airplane with 8 other men

06:06 Current day Bryan Blair wearing a black fleece in his home office speaking on a video call. Graphic appears reading “Bryan Blair, MOLA Flight Software Analyst”

06:15 Pan down over an old official document reading “MOLA, Mars Observer Laser Altimeter, Flight Software Requirements Document (FSRD)” and focuses on the name and signature of “J. Bryan Blair”

06:21 Back to McGarry on video call

06:25 Slow pan of a black-and-white photo of the MOLA-1 telescope and receiver, a large round dish with a mirror and a smaller tower in the center

06:28 Slow pan over a color photo of the finished MOLA-1 instrument, a large silver circular dish with a black tower in the center, all mounted on a gold table with wires and supporting components

06:31 Old footage of the Mars Observer spacecraft fully completed in a cleanroom with two engineers in white clean room suits inspecting it. The men are half the height of the spacecraft.

06:37 Back to Smith on video call

06:39 Old footage of the Mars Observer spacecraft being prepared for launch inside cleanrooms

06:47 Old footage of the launch pad and tower across a body of water

06:48 Graphic appears reading “September 25, 1992”

06:50 Montage of old footage showing the launch tower, launch control room filled with men on headsets looking at monitors and ending on a close up of the rocket with a logo reading “Mars Observer”

06:53 The rocket with Mars Observer on board lifts off and out of frame, followed by wider shots of the rocket flying against a blue sky

07:05 Montage of old footage showing happy people inside the launch control room, hugging, cheering, high-fiving

07:19 Old footage of rocket at a great distance against a cloudy white sky, quickly losing sight of the rocket

07:26 Graphic appears reading “11 Months Later”

07:30 Middle-aged man speaking at a lectern, graphic reads “Glenn Cunningham, Project Manager, Mars Observer”

07:33 Graphic appears reading “August 24, 1993, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory”

07:39 Fullscreen graphic, a collage of newspaper headlines, a centered one comes toward the camera reading “Mars spacecraft still silent, analysts think observer exploded into ‘little bitty pieces’.”

07:45 Back to Cunningham at lectern

07:46 Two seated reporters, one man and one woman, ask questions into microphones

07:54 Back to Cunningham, seated, smiling while providing a lighthearted answer

07:57 Another graphic collage of newspaper headlines, centered one reading “Engineers hold out hope, NASA scientists wait patiently for a sign from the Mars Observer”

08:03 Old footage showing an older man in a beige suit at the lectern. Graphic appears reading “William Piotrowski, Director, NASA Solar System Exploration”

08:06: Back to Cunningham who is seated with a concerned look on his face

08:08 On the next day, Cunningham at the lectern speaking, graphic appears reading “August 25, 1993”

08:12 Cunningham seated answering a question asked over the phone

08:15 Another graphic montage of newspaper headlines, the centered one reading “NASA still fights to find craft.” This is followed by a newspaper photo of an image of the Mars Observer superimposed on a milk carton with the text “Have you seen me?” and “Mars Observer, 6 foot by 4 and a half foot by 3 foot, 2500 kilograms, Last heard from on 8/12/93, 627,000 kilometers from Mars.”

08:20 Fullscreen graphic reading “Coming up next” in yellow blocky font over grainy animation of the spacecraft malfunctioning

08:23 Back to Smith on video call

08:27 Old footage of a concerned scientist, Ed Stone, followed by archival animation of the malfunctioning Mars Observer with the timestamp “22/Aug/93 00:45:22.00”

08:32 The NASA logo, a blue circle with a red stylized arrow and a white orbit path around white letters reading “NASA”