Safe and Precise Landing – Integrated Capabilities Evolution (SPLICE)

The navigation doppler lidar transmits laser beams, which bounce off the surface and back to the instrument. (Credits: NASA)

NASA Fact Sheet

What is SPLICE?

NASA is developing advanced precision landing technologies for robotic science and human exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, icy bodies, and other terrestrial destinations.

A new suite of lunar landing technologies, called Safe and Precise Landing – Integrated Capabilities Evolution (SPLICE), will enable safer and more accurate lunar landings than ever before. Future Moon missions could use SPLICE’s advanced algorithms and sensors to target landing sites that weren’t possible during the Apollo missionssuch as regions with hazardous boulders and nearby shadowed craters. SPLICE technologies could also help land humans on Mars.


One Giant Leap for Lunar Landing Navigation Taken in Mojave

This map of the Moon shows the five candidate landing sites chosen by the Apollo Site Selection Board in February 1968. Photographs gathered during earlier uncrewed reconnaissance missions gave NASA information about terrain features. (Credit: NASA)

By Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

MOJAVE, Calif., September 13, 2019 (NASA PR) — When Apollo 11’s lunar module, Eagle, landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969, it first flew over an area littered with boulders before touching down at the Sea of Tranquility. The site had been selected based on photos collected over two years as part of the Lunar Orbiter program.

But the “sensors” that ensured Eagle was in a safe spot before touching down – those were the eyes of NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.