Deployment Test for ExoCam Module Lunar Lander Descent Imaging

PI: Jason Mezilis, Zandef Deksit Inc., Dean Bergman (Co-I), Honeybee Robotics Ltd. - Brooklyn

Researchers from Zandef Deksit hope to use a Deployment Test for ExoCam Module Lunar Lander Descent Imaging to capture the first-ever video of a lunar lander’s final descent and landing taken from the surface. The work also aims to enable in-situ data about the lander’s plume-induced regolith disturbances, serving as a prototype for placing distributed science instruments onto the surface of the Moon and other planetary bodies.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

Currently, no video exists of a lunar lander’s final descent and landing as seen from the surface of the Moon.Lunar landings from the perspective of the ground will allow for better characterization of the effects of surface ablation and plume impingement than video from the perspective of the lander alone. Video data taken from the surface during these landings would represent the first collection of such data and would help fill gaps in our current understanding and modeling of landing operations (one of the most hazardous phases of lunar missions) as well as the effects on nearby terrain, emplaced assets, and infrastructure.

Technology Maturation

The ExoCam Module is a basketball-sized remote imaging sensor designed to be jettisoned from a lunar lander during its final 15 to 20 seconds of descent. It also incorporates a particle-detector instrument system to measure parameters associated with regolith plumes caused by landing thrusters. Flight testing aims to advance the core mechanical ExoCam systems from TRL 4 to TRL 6 by employing a vertical takeoff and vertical landing vehicle to demonstrate multiple jettison and surface impact scena

Future Customers

•NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services landers
•NASA’s Human Landing System Program
•Landers for other solid-surface solar system objects

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights20 (Sep 2020)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 3 sRLV

Development Team

  • PI
    Jason Mezilis
  • PI Organization
    Zandef Deksit Inc.
  • Co-I
    Dean Bergman
  • Co-I Organization
  • Sponsor
  • Partners
    Honeybee Robotics, Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation, Arizona State University

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