Mars atmospheric characterization is critical for exploring the planet. Future Mars missions require landing massive payloads to the surface with high accuracy. The accuracy of entry, descent and landing (EDL) of a payload is a major technical challenge for future Mars missions. Mars EDL depends on atmospheric conditions such as density, wind and dust as well as surface topography. A Mars orbiting 2-micron lidar system is presented in this paper. This advanced lidar is capable of measuring atmospheric pressure and temperature profiles using the most abundant atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) on Mars. In addition Martian winds and surface altimetry can be mapped, independent of background radiation or geographical location. This orbiting lidar is a valuable tool for developing EDL models for future Mars missions.