NASA Spacecraft Moon Landing Splice
On future space missions, NASA will utilize a combination of laser sensors, a camera, a high-speed computer, and sophisticated algorithms to give spacecraft artificial eyes and analytical capability to find a designated landing area, identify potential hazards, as well as adjust course to the safest touchdown site. These technologies are all a part of the Safe and Precise Landing – Integrated Capabilities Evolution (SPLICE) project that will allow spacecraft to avoid boulders, craters, and more within designated landing areas. Read more for a video and additional information.

Atmospheric conditions might vary depending on the planet, but the process of descent and landing is the same. NASA programmed the SPLICE computer to activate terrain relative navigation several miles above the ground. This enables the onboard camera to photograph the surface, taking up to 10 pictures every second, which are then continuously fed into the computer preloaded with satellite images of the landing field and a database of known landmarks.

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What we’re building is a complete descent and landing system that will work for future Artemis missions to the Moon and can be adapted for Mars. Our job is to put the individual components together and make sure that it works as a functioning system,” said project manager Ron Sostaric.