Research for Safe and Pin-point Lunar Landing and Exploration

External research report English OPEN
松本, 甲太郎 ; MATSUMOTO, Kohtaro ; 佐々, 修一 ; SASA, Shuichi ; 若林, 幸子 ; WAKABAYASHI, Sachiko ; 片山, 保宏 ; KATAYAMA, Yasuhiro ; 二宮, 哲次郎 ; NINOMIYA, Tetsujiro ; 濱田, 吉郎 ; HAMADA, Yoshiro ; 藤原, 健 ; FUJIWARA, Takeshi (2003)
  • Publisher: National Aerospace Laboratory(NAL)
  • Journal: National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan RESEARCH PROGRESS 2002 - 2003 88-91 (issn: 1340-5977)
  • Subject: Lunar Exploration, Pin-point Landing, Obstacle Avoidance, Imaging Sensor, Rover

The moon is widely regarded as the next step into space for us. NASA, ESA and other agencies have recently begun new missions in the next thrust towards lunar exploration. NAL has started fundamental studies of the technologies needed for the long-term utilization of the moon as a technological and scientific base. NAL is currently taking part in the research phase of the Selenological and Engineering Explorer - B (SELENE-B) project, which was separated from SELENE in 2000, and in 2001 was dedicated primarily to overseeing safe-landing demonstration projects by NASDA, ISAS, and NAL. Safe-landing technology is very challenging, but obviously a vital necessity, and has been given top priority in the SELENE-B study. In addition, part of the SELENE-B task is to produce a lunar geological exploration mission, using a small rover to gather scientific information. Thirty years after the Apollo program, the lunar maria are not attractive targets for Japan's first moon landing, though they would be safer. A landing site near the central peaks of a crater is thought to be the most scientifically interesting. Such sites are completely unexplored by humans, and may give us clues about the origin of the moon. For safe landing and exploration in such a demanding site, the following capabilities were set as the main technological targets of SELENE-B: Pin-point precise guidance/navigation Autonomous obstacle detection and avoidance Landing mechanism for steep slope Telescience using a small rover In this report, we summarize NAL's research in these areas.
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