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蓝色原产地’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship makes a precision landing in May 2019. (Blue Origin Photo)

Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong famously had to躲闪博尔德 - 散系火山口just seconds before the first moon landing in 1969 — but for future lunar touchdowns, NASA expects robotic eyes to see such missions to safe landings.


今天NASA talked up a precision landing system known as SPLICE(代表Safe and Precise Landing – Integrated Capabilities Evolution)。该系统利用板载相机,激光传感器和计算机化火力来识别和避免危险,如陨石坑和巨石。

美国宇航局说三个拼接的四个主要子系统 - 该terrain relative navigation system, a导航多普勒激光雷达系统下降和降落电脑— will be tested during an upcoming flight of Blue Origin’s新谢泼德suborbital spaceship。第四个组成部分,a危险检测激光雷达系统,仍然必须经过地面测试。

在一个tweet,美国宇航局管理员Jim Bridenstine表示,拼接等技术“可以提供具有”眼睛“和分析能力的航天器来制造安全着陆。蓝色来源用自己的推文回答:

It’s been a long nine months since New Shepard’s最近未营造的测试飞行- 主要是由于冠状病毒大流行引起的破坏。在Covid-19之前,Blue Origin高管在2020年底到2020年底,在新的Shepard上的飞行人们的表现希望,但现在框架现在似乎是出于问题。(公平地说,Bezos和Blue Origin的其他人对船上的人们达到了乐观的预测since 2016。)

现在另一个时间表迫在眉睫:美国宇航局的Artemis计划is aiming to land astronauts on the moon by as early as 2024, and the被蓝色起源及其合作伙伴开发的着陆器可以在那些农历任务中发挥关键作用。


返回1969年,美国宇航局将其留给了阿姆斯特朗和Buzz Aldrin,以便在目标着陆区内选择正确的位置,该地区大约为3英里的宽,11英里长。1976年Viking Mars Landers的目标区是一个甚至更广泛的椭圆,达到了174英里的62英里。

Robotic landing technology has improved markedly since then: The landing ellipse for the Mars Curiosity rover in 2016 was a mere 4 by 12 miles. But SPLICE should be able to plot pinpoint touchdowns for future human and robotic explorers.

“What we’re building is a complete descent and landing system that will work for future Artemis missions to the moon and can be adapted for Mars,” project manager Ron Sostaric said in NASA’s news release. “Our job is to put the individual components together and make sure that it works as a functioning system.”

SPLICE’s camera is programmed to take up to 10 images per second, and feed them into a computer that’s pre-loaded with satellite images and landmark coordinates. The computer continuously compares the real-time views with the database to guide the spacecraft toward the safest site, while making sure to avoid hazards.

A version of the terrain relative navigation systemwill be used when NASA’s Perseverance rover descends to the Martian surface next February.



SPLICE could open up landing zones in areas of the moon and Mars that previously couldn’t be considered due to potentially hazardous terrain — for example, the永久阴影的陨石坑of the moon’s south polar region, or ledges overlooking the huge Martian canyon known asValles Marineris.

If all goes well with New Shepard’s flights and SPLICE’s other trial runs, precision landing technologies could help robotic lunar probes find their way to a safe landing从明年开始


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