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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Development of lidar sensor systems for autonomous safe landing on planetary bodies
Author(s): F. Amzajerdian; D. Pierrottet; L. Petway; M. Vanek

Paper Abstract

Future NASA exploratory missions to the Moon and Mars will require safe soft-landings at the designated sites with a high degree of precision. These sites may include areas of high scientific value with relatively rough terrain with little or no solar illumination and possibly areas near pre-deployed assets. The ability of lidar technology to provide three-dimensional elevation maps of the terrain, high precision distance to the ground, and approach velocity can enable safe landing of large robotic and manned vehicles with a high degree of precision. Currently, NASA-LaRC is developing novel lidar sensors aimed at meeting NASA’s objectives for future planetary landing missions under the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance (ALHAT) project [1]. These lidar sensors are 3-Dimensional Imaging Flash Lidar, Doppler Lidar, and Laser Altimeter. The Flash Lidar is capable of generating elevation maps of the terrain identifying hazardous features such as rocks, craters, and steep slopes. The elevation maps collected during the approach phase between 1000 m to 500 m above the ground can be used to determine the most suitable safe landing site. The Doppler Lidar provides highly accurate ground velocity and distance data allowing for precision navigation to the selected landing site. Prior to the approach phase at altitudes of over 15 km, the Laser Altimeter can provide sufficient data for updating the vehicle position and attitude data from the Inertial Measurement Unit. At these higher altitudes, either the Laser Altimeter or the Flash Lidar can be used for generating a contour map of the terrain below for identifying known surface features such as craters for further reducing the vehicle relative position error.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2017
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 10565, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010, 105650M (20 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2309116
Show Author Affiliations
F. Amzajerdian, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
D. Pierrottet, Coherent Applications, Inc. (United States)
L. Petway, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
M. Vanek, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10565:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010
Errico Armandillo; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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