Scientists wouldn’t send a rover to the moon without a detailed plan. There are numerous scientific and engineering considerations that would come into play in deciding what research a lunar rover will conduct, including where it will land. Scientists use imaging data from satellites orbiting the moon to learn about its surface and guide their decision-making to choose scientifically significant landing sites.
Astro-visualization software tools allow users to visualize the universe. Some of these tools incorporate NASA data, which NASA scientists use to plan and interpret scientific observations from space-based instruments aboard robotic spacecraft.
Your challenge is to use NASA data to create a lunar rover mission plan to the moon, and to use astro-visualization to identify and evaluate possible landing sites for a lunar rover.
As you develop your mission plan and visualization, you may consider the following criteria for choosing a moon-landing site for a lunar rover:
- What are the scientific goals of your mission? What do you hope to learn?
- Will a rover be able to land safely and travel easily at the landing site?
- Is it possible for a rover to search for water at the landing site?
- How much of the moon’s geological past can be studied at the landing site?