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Lunar Mapping for Chang’e-4 Space Mission

with Esri’s Technology

Dr. Bo Wu, Associate Professor at the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, makes strategic use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology in analyzing landing site for Chang’e-4 lunar exploration mission.

With advanced GIS technology, Dr. Bo Wu leads a team to conduct a research titled “Chang’e-4 Landing Site — Topographic and Geomorphological Characterization and Analysis”.

Funded by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the research team utilized Esri’s ArcGIS mapping and analytics platform to analyze a large amount of lunar remote sensing data from multi-sources such as satellite imagery to create high-precision and high-resolution topographic models for two potential landing regions, one of them is the current Chang’e-4 landing site, the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole — Aitken basin on the far side of the Moon.

ArcGIS platform helps Dr. Wu Bo analyze multiple spatial data collected from the Moon.

Dr. Wu explained that GIS has provided tremendous assistance and saved much time for his research team to evaluate lunar remote sensing data of about 400,000 craters and over 20,000 boulders in the candidate landing regions, and ArcGIS also has been used to calculate the gradient of the slopes to locate relatively flat surface for safe landing of Chang’e-4. In fact, Dr. Wu has been using GIS for spatial research dating back to 2006 when he was in the US, and he will keep utilizing GIS with machine learning for his future research projects, including Chang’e-5 and China’s 2020 Mars exploration.