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NASA Lunar Science Institute

South Pole – Aitken Basin Landing Site Database

12 Feb 2013, 19:22 UTC
South Pole – Aitken Basin Landing Site Database

The new database and web interface for SPA Basin landing sites analyses is a valuable resource and a wonderful tool.

South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin, the biggest and most ancient lunar basin. Arrow identifies the location of interesting wrinkled ridges within Aitken crater. Image width is 250 km. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.
NLSI’s LPI Team, led by David Kring, has developed a new South Pole-Aitken Basin Landing Site Database. The database website provides a web-based ArcGIS tool for evaluating landing sites within the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin.
The development of this tool was prompted by several reports. The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon (NRC 2007) found that it was imperative to anchor the early Earth-Moon impact flux curve by determining the age of the oldest and largest basin on the Moon, the SPA basin. Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 (NRC 2012) drew a similar conclusion and recommended a sample return mission to the SPA basin in the near future. Several formal and informal recommendations by others in the community have also pointed to the SPA basin as a high-priority science and exploration target.
The novel web-based ArcGIS system provides the lunar community with co-registered base maps (e.g., topography and FeO abundances) and a series of feature layers (e.g., for volcanic rilles and ≥20 km-diameter impact craters) that are important input parameters for selecting landing sites.
The system is also integrated with information developed in A Global Lunar Landing Site Study to Provide the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon. That study determined that most of the goals articulated by the NRC (2007) report could be addressed within the SPA basin and highlighted, in particular, the attractiveness of Schrödinger basin and Amundsen crater for future missions. As users will see, however, there are a huge number of other interesting locations within SPA.
The system is designed to evolve so that it can provide the lunar community with an enhanced range of information and capabilities in the future. Additional base maps and feature layers are already in development for a second version.
Detailed instructions for how to use the system can be found on the Database Website.
Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NLSI Team

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