The latest mission proposals for exploration of solar system bodies require accurate position and velocity data during the descent phase in order to ensure safe, soft landing at the pre-designated sites. During landing maneuvers, the accuracy of the on-board inertial measurement unit (IMU) may not be reliable due to drift over extended travel times to destinations. NASA has proposed an advanced Doppler lidar system with multiple beams that can be used to accurately determine attitude and position of the landing vehicle during descent, and to detect hazards that might exist in the landing area.
In order to assess the effectiveness of such a Doppler lidar landing system, it is valuable to simulate the system with different beam numbers and configurations. In addition, the effectiveness of the system to detect and map potential landing hazards must be understood. This paper reports the simulated system performance for a proposed multi-beam Doppler lidar using the LadarSIM system simulation software. Details of the simulation methods are given, as well as lidar performance parameters such as range and velocity accuracy, detection and false alarm rates, and examples of the Doppler lidars ability to detect and characterize simulated hazards in the landing site. The simulation includes modulated pulse generation and coherent detection methods, beam footprint simulation, beam scanning, and interaction with terrain.
Budge, Scott E. and Chester, David B., "Simulation of a Doppler lidar system for autonomous navigation and hazard avoidance during planetary landing" (2016). Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Publications. Paper 130.