ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository
A Hybrid Camera-Lidar Hazard Detection and Avoidance System for Lunar Landing
A Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA) system has been developed and evaluated in the context of the European Space Agency's NEXT Lunar Lander mission. The proposed HDA system makes use of both an imaging camera and a LIDAR sensor to provide reliable illumination, slope and roughness information over the selected landing area. A data transformation process merges the information obtained from the two sensors and a piloting algorithm selects a safe site for landing. Analyses and trade-offs were performed for the design of a feasible descent and landing strategy with HDA capability. The HDA algorithms have been tested extensively via Monte Carlo simulations using terrain sensors performance models and synthetic terrains with realistic hazard distributions. Results obtained with a six-degree-of-freedom simulator indicate that the probability of safe, soft-landing on the Lunar South Pole is significantly improved when camera and LIDAR terrain sensor data are merged for safe site selection purposes.