Optimized traverse planning for future polar prospectors based on lunar topography

E. J. Speyerer, S. J. Lawrence, J. D. Stopar, P. Gläser, Mark Robinson, B. L. Jolliff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


To fully understand the extensive collection of remotely sensed polar observations by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and other recent lunar missions, we must acquire an array of ground-truth measurements. A polar rover can sample and assay potential polar resources both laterally and at shallow depths. To identify ideal, least-energy traverses for such a polar prospecting mission, we developed a traverse planning tool, called R-Traverse, using a fundamental wheel-regolith interaction model and datasets from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, and Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment. Using the terramechanics model, we identified least-energy traverses at the 20 m scale around Shackleton crater and located one traverse plan that enables the rover to remain illuminated for 94.4% of the lunar year. By incorporating this path planning tool during mission planning, the feasibility of such a mission can be quantified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jul 15 2016



  • Data reduction techniques
  • Moon
  • Terrestrial planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Speyerer, E. J., Lawrence, S. J., Stopar, J. D., Gläser, P., Robinson, M., & Jolliff, B. L. (2016). Optimized traverse planning for future polar prospectors based on lunar topography. Icarus, 273, 337-345. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2016.03.011