KOREAN LUNAR LANDER – CONCEPT STUDY FOR LANDING-SITE SELECTION FOR LUNAR RESOURCE EXPLORATION
Keywords: Lunar Lander Mission, Landing Site Selection, Resource Exploration, Remote Sensing Data Analysis, Terrain Modelling, Feature Extraction
Abstract. As part of the national space promotion plan and presidential national agendas South Korea’s institutes and agencies under the auspices of the Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technology and Future Planning (MSIP) are currently developing a lunar mission package expected to reach Moon in 2020. While the officially approved Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) is aimed at demonstrating technologies and monitoring the lunar environment from orbit, a lander – currently in pre-phase A – is being designed to explore the local geology with a particular focus on the detection and characterization of mineral resources. In addition to scientific and potential resource potentials, the selection of the landing-site will be partly constrained by engineering constraints imposed by payload and spacecraft layout. Given today’s accumulated volume and quality of available data returned from the Moon’s surface and from orbital observations, an identification of landing sites of potential interest and assessment of potential hazards can be more readily accomplished by generating synoptic snapshots through data integration. In order to achieve such a view on potential landing sites, higher level processing and derivation of data are required, which integrates their spatial context, with detailed topographic and geologic characterizations. We are currently assessing the possibility of using fuzzy c-means clustering algorithms as a way to perform (semi-) automated terrain characterizations of interest. This paper provides information and background on the national lunar lander program, reviews existing approaches – including methods and tools – for landing site analysis and hazard assessment, and discusses concepts to detect and investigate elemental abundances from orbit and the surface. This is achieved by making use of manual, semi-automated as well as fully-automated remote-sensing methods to demonstrate the applicability of analyses. By considering given boundary conditions, concrete procedures for determining potential landing sites of the Korean lunar lander could be proposed.