Lunar territorial competition for the US and allies versus China will center, to a great extent, on the ability to mobilize for exploration and development and that will require infrastructure strategies such as LunaNet and, importantly, advanced technologies and systems for positioning, localization and navigation.
Much of the technology used for navigation on Earth is not available on the Moon (GPS, LIDAR, magnetic compasses), or is impeded by Lunar dust obscuring sensors.
Some regions never see the light of day (permanently shadowed regions), or don’t have a view of the sky (lava tubes), or don’t have a line of sight to Earth (making tele-operation impossible), or have low sun elevation and sudden transitions from light to darkness.
The focus on the Moon is concentrated at the South Pole for a number of technical reasons as well as for resource development objectives. The issue of geographical concentration and sovereign competition will likely extend beyond the Moon, given that the number of metal-rich, economically viable, near-Earth asteroids is estimated at around ten by Dr. Martin Elvis of Harvard University.
However, more powerful rockets could dramatically increase that number. Geospatial Alpha will be hosting a free webinar on June 8: The Future of Exploration and Navigation, with support from Thales Alenia Space and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Geospatial Alpha was founded in 2019 to be an authority in geospatial technologies and intelligence, including positioning and navigation, as an investor, advisor and thought-leader. The event will feature experts providing a deep technical dive, with clear visibility to application, on emerging technologies and challenges for advanced positioning and navigation on Earth, in Earth orbit, on the Moon, and in deep space.
Speakers will discuss advanced technologies such as:
- Latest technologies and methods on Earth, including new GPS signals and signal processing techniques, the use of AI in sensing and positioning, and new quantum technologies.
- Neuromorphic vision systems for satellite tracking and space situational awareness.
- Lunar surface and subsurface resource exploration, mobility, localization and mapping.
- Astronaut and robotic augmented perception.
- Deep space autonomous navigation using computer vision and pulsars.
The webinar speakers include..
- Dr. Rupak Biswas, Director of Exploration Technology, NASA Ames, and Head of High-End Computing, NASA
- Cheryl Gramling, Head of Navigation, Goddard Space Center, NASA
- Ramsey Faragher, CEO and Founder, Focal Point Positioning
- Kynan Eng, CEO and Co-Founder, IniVation
- Dan Andrews, VIPER Mission Lead, NASA
- Angela Stickle, Extreme Access Group Lead, LISC and Senior Scientist, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
- Sarah Withee, Extreme Access Group, LISC, and PNT Engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
- Shyam Bhaskaran, Outer Planet Navigation Lead, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Article by Todd Simon, Geospatial Alpha