Surveyor Lunar Mission

These images represent the concept of a "Surveyor" mission that would fly as a precursor to RLEP2 Lunar mobile surface robotics. Surveyor would map the area around the Shackleton Crater rim and then overfly some of the crater itself, landing in a cold, dark region within the crater. Surveyor would thereby test the lighting conditions at Shackleton, map the crater slope and terrain hazards, test execution of pinpoint landing in a dark region, validate flash or spot lighting and cameras, perform a surface test drill or probe and evaluate thermal and dust viability and survivability of components and battery/power source performance within the cold trap. Surveyor could be a low cost piggyback mission on LRO or an RLEP2 comsat deployment and return valuable data by 2009 in time to inform final engineering on the RLEP2 surface mobility system. Surveyor could also be a first flight test of the basic LSAM lander framework and motor and reduce risk for the heavier and costlier RLEP2 lander. Ground truth for RLEP2 mobility systems may not be provided solely by measurements from Lunar orbit. A low cost Surveyor will fill the gaps in ground truth knowledge and may significantly lower the risk to the RLEP2 mobility platform.

Concept developed and submitted by Colorado School of Mines and DigitalSpace, submitted to RLEP2 Mobility Trades (pre-Phase A) December 12, 2005.

Surveyor Concept 1

This initial concept for Surveyor uses a heavier, LSAM-derived landing frame and larger tanks and is shown overflying, exploring and landing in a smaller crater. See also our Concept 2 below.

Click on photos to view larger images.
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Surveyor Concept 2

This more advanced concept for Surveyor has a lighter weight craft overflying a much larger crater with more extensive topography mapping. Both concepts test precision landing, communications, lighting and cameras, drilling/probing of the surface, and thermal, dust and power system performance in the cold, dark traps.

Click on photos to view larger images.
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