Steepness of Slopes at the Luna-Glob Landing Sites: Estimating by the Shaded Area Percentage in the LROC NAC Images
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The paper presents estimates of the occurrence probability of slopes, whose steep surfaces could be dangerous for the landing of the Luna-Glob descent probe (Luna-25) given the baseline of the span between the landing pads (~3.5 m), for five potential landing ellipses. As a rule, digital terrain models built from stereo pairs of high-resolution images (here, the images taken by the Narrow Angle Camera onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LROC NAC)) are used in such cases. However, the planned landing sites are at high latitudes (67°–74° S), which makes it impossible to build digital terrain models, since the difference in the observation angle of the overlapping images is insufficient at these latitudes. Because of this, to estimate the steepness of slopes, we considered the interrelation between the shaded area percentage in the image and the Sun angle over horizon at the moment of imaging. For five proposed landing ellipses, the LROC NAC images (175 images in total) with a resolution from 0.4 to 1.2 m/pixel were analyzed. From the results of the measurements in each of the ellipses, the dependence of the shaded area percentage on the solar angle were built, which was converted to the occurrence probability of slopes. For this, the data on the Apollo 16 landing region ware used, which is covered by both the LROC NAC images and the digital terrain model with high resolution. As a result, the occurrence probability of slopes with different steepness has been estimated on the baseline of 3.5 m for five landing ellipses according to the steepness categories of <7°, 7°–10°, 10°–15°, 15°–20°, and >20°.
KeywordsMoon Luna-Glob Luna-25 landing sites LROC NAC slope slope steepness
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