The METECS team is responsible for building the lunar surface model for lander and rover simulations supporting the Artemis program, such as the NASA Exploration Systems Simulations (NExSyS) team. Starting with digital elevation models from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) our team then adds sub-resolution features to the terrain, such as rocks and craters. We also add in contact dynamics to support interaction between vehicles (such as rovers and landers) against this terrain. Using these high-fidelity terrain models, NASA is able to conduct studies such as lighting and navigation studies which help to characterize the challenges astronauts will face when we return to the Lunar surface!
There have been many recent demos of these lunar simulation capabilities to NASA management as well as other agencies such as JAXA. Congratulations to the METECS employees who have worked to move expand and demo these capabilities