Backpack LiDAR surveying to prepare for planet exploration in cooperation with NASA

Data captured by a KLS system

Laser scanning technology and expertise are needed in space. In recent American Surveyor article FINESSE Exploration Strategies using High-Resolution LiDAR Surveying LiDAR instruments and surveying techniques are considered integral tools in the future exploration of planets.

Today NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) program’s exploration strategies are being developed using Tripod and Mobile LiDAR instruments.

Due to the extremely high costs of visiting and exploring objects in space, such as the Moon, Mars and other planets, it is crucial to find the right tools and techniques for collecting high-quality data for research. This can be done by making experiments in comparable places on Earth.

Valuable information with LiDAR

The FINESSE scientists have been exploring the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (CRMO) in the Snake River Plain of Idaho. As a part of the cooperation CoE-LaSR research professor Antero Kukko has been performing technology demonstrations using an FGI originating backpack mobile laser scanning system Akhka-R3.

In a lava field environment the Lidar detects details often more precise than 1 cm point distribution revealing even tiny details of the surface. The collected data enables the producing of high-accuracy topographic maps and provides information on terrain roughness and morphology features of the surveyed area.

The Backpack system developed in FGI has proven to be an efficient tool for fast collection of precise information in lava fields. The findings indicate that in similar conditions, i.e. in Mars, terrestrial and mobile laser scanning are good options for collecting data for further analogy and exploration studies.

Read the full article in The American Surveyor

Picture: Antero Kukko

The FINESSE program is a consortium of more than 30 research scientists. Their goal is to generate strategic knowledge in preparation for the human and robotic exploration of the Moon, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and Phobos & Deimos.

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