Mission Architecture Decision Support System for Robotic Lunar Exploration

Planetary and Space Science, Volume 57, Issue 12, October 2009, Pages 1434-1445

P. Weiss and K.L. Yung

“It is common practice in the landing site decision process for planetary or lunar exploration to limit the choice of sites to locations that strictly meet the technical and safety requirements of the lander. The science objective is ultimately implemented within the operational requirements of the mission strategy.

“In this paper, we present a study that derives the technical requirements of the landing strategy by considering proposed landing sites. The study reviewed the objectives of the future robotic exploration of the Moon and proposed targets from the Apollo era to our time. Three types of strategies are defined, namely, rover missions, immobile landing stations, and impacting probes. The capabilities and restrictions of each system are taken into account and compared to the science objectives of the proposed landing sites. A Geographic Information System (GIS) with lunar datasets was developed and the methodology was implemented. The study concludes with a description of the resulting mission scenarios that were assigned to the targets. The technical requirements for each landing system to fulfil these scientific objectives are derived and the feasibility, based on the technological readiness, is discussed.”