Landing Site Selection Criteria
The proposed landing site is at 22 N, 70 E, on the east edge of Mare
Anguus (east of Mare Crisium). I christened the area Angus Bay, for
reasons explained elsewhere in the Artemis Data Book. The little red
circle marks the spot in the illustration below.
Angus Bay, on the Northeastern Shore of Mare Crisium
The illustration shows a map of the moon, as imaged by Clementine,
with the nearside centered.
We have to consider a lot of factors when we choose a landing site,
especially when it may be the location of the moon's first permanent
- Lighting: On the technical side, we want the right light
angles for landing; crater rims should show distinctly and crater floors
should not be completely in shadow. On the entertainment side, we want
good lighting for making a movie; mid-morning or mid-afternoon light
angles are best.
- Landscape: Here our technical desires are in conflict with the
entertainment aspect of the mission. For assured mission success, we want
a broad, flat plain; but to make it entertaining we want a rugged terrain.
- Terrain: For shielding, we want to be near a crater wall or mountain.
We also need diverse and interesting terrain with sinuous
rilles, lava tubes, and mare basins nearby for lunar base expansion into
lava tubes and easy to access shielding materials.
- Earth view: This is most important to the entertainment value
of the flight. We want Earth in the background, just off the horizon. That
establishes a wide locus of possible locations around the rim of the moon
as we see her from Earth, from about 5 to 30 degrees from the limb. The
technical issue is that if the Earth is somewhere in the sky, we can
establish good point-to-point communication.
- Identifiable location: This is pure entertainment. The moon
is the best advertisement for herself; she circles our globe visible to
almost everyone on Earth. We want everyone to be able to look up, point
to a spot on the moon, and say, "Right there; that's where they are!"
- Resources: Lots of deep, fine dust appears to be our best bet
for finding oxygen, hydrogen, and helium-3. The lunar maria have KREEP
(potassium, Rare Earth Elements, Phosphorus) material and abundant iron and
titanium, while highlands have more aluminum, silicon, and other elements.
Crater floors and rilles might be the best place to look for crystals.
Different landforms have different resources, so we want easy access to
each of them.
The proposed site at Angus Bay fits each of these criteria. It's
not the only place that fits, but from all we know now it seems
to be the best choice. See the list of
Clementine images of the site for
some more detailed views of the area near Angus Bay.
More information about landing site selection is in the
internal notes of the
Lunar Science Technical Committee in
and the Site Selection Technical Committee in
section 188.8.131.52.5 of the
Artemis Data Book.
References: Heiken et al. Lunar Sourcebook: A
user's guide to the moon. New York: Cambridge University Press,
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