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Characterisation of potential landing sites for the European Space Agency’s Lunar Lander project

De Rosa, Diego and Bussey, Ben and Cahill, Joshua T. and Lutz, Tobias and Crawford, Ian A. and Hackwill, Terence and van Gasselt, Stephan and Neukum, Gerhard and Witte, Lars and Grindrod, Peter M. and Carpenter, James (2012) Characterisation of potential landing sites for the European Space Agency’s Lunar Lander project. Planetary and Space Science (74), pp. 224-246. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2012.08.002. ISSN 0032-0633.

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Abstract

This article describes the characterization activities of the landing sites currently envisaged for the Lunar Lander mission of the European Space Agency. These sites have been identified in the South Pole Region (-85° to -90° latitude) based on favourable illumination conditions, which make it possible to have a long-duration mission with conventional power and thermal control subsystems, capable of enduring relatively short periods of darkness (in the order of tens of hours), instead of utilizing Radioisotope Heating Units. The illumination conditions are simulated at the potential landing sites based on topographic data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), using three independent tools. Risk assessment of the identified sites is also being performed through independent studies. Long baseline slopes are assessed based on LOLA, while craters and boulders are detected both visually and using computer tools in Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) images, down to assize of less than 2m, and size-frequency distributions are generated. Shadow hazards are also assessed via LROC images. The preliminary results show that areas with quasi-continuous illumination of several months exist, but their size is small (few hundred metres); the duration of the illumination period drops quickly to less than one month outside the areas, and some areas present gaps with short illumination periods. Concerning hazard distributions, 50m slopes are found to be shallow (few degrees) based on LOLA, whereas at the scale of the lander footprint (~5 m) they are mostly dominated by craters, expected to be mature (from geological context) and shallow (~11°).The preliminary conclusion is that the environment at the prospective landing sites is within the capabilities of the Lander design.

Document Type:Article
Title:Characterisation of potential landing sites for the European Space Agency’s Lunar Lander project
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
De Rosa, DiegoEuropean Space Agency, ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Bussey, BenPlanetary and Exploration Group, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel MD, USA
Cahill, Joshua T.Planetary and Exploration Group, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel MD, USA
Lutz, TobiasAstrium GmbH Space Transportation, Airbus-Allee 1, 28199 Bremen, Germany
Crawford, Ian A.Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX, UK
Hackwill, TerenceDepartment of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX, UK
van Gasselt, StephanFreie Universitaet Berlin Department of Earth Sciences Institut of Geosciences Remote Sensing of the Earth and Planets, Malteserstr. 74-100, Building D, Berlin, 12249 Germany
Neukum, GerhardFreie Universitaet Berlin Department of Earth Sciences Institut of Geosciences Remote Sensing of the Earth and Planets, Malteserstr. 74-100, Building D, Berlin, 12249 Germany
Witte, LarsDLR Institute of Space Systems, Robert-Hooke-Str. 7, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Grindrod, Peter M.Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Carpenter, JamesESA-ESTEC, 2201 AZ, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Date:December 2012
Journal or Publication Title:Planetary and Space Science
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI:10.1016/j.pss.2012.08.002
Page Range:pp. 224-246
ISSN:0032-0633
Status:Published
Keywords:Landing site characterization, Lunar South Pole, Illumination conditions, Landing hazards, Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, Crater size-frequency distributions, Boulder size-frequency distributions
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Landetechnologien
Location: Bremen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Systems > Explorationssysteme
Deposited By: Lars Witte
Deposited On:23 Jan 2014 10:16
Last Modified:23 Jan 2014 10:16

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