Lidar image of simulated lunar terrain used for the Luna-27 Moon landing mission. While cameras need light to capture images of the Moon, lidar is unaffected by the harsh lighting conditions in the south pole region. Laser beams scan the view and report to a computer, allowing the spacecraft to avoid hazards and choose the ideal landing or docking approach.
Prospect is one of the packages being developed by ESA for flight to the Moon as part of cooperation on Russia’s lunar programme. Pilot – Precise Intelligent Landing using On-board Technology – is an autonomous precision landing system incorporating ‘laser radar’ lidar for hazard detection and avoidance.