LEAPS: Lunar Expedition to Ascertain the Philolaus Skylights

LEAPS is a case study of a potential mission toward the Philolaus Crater and its prospective lava tubes. Outcomes of such a mission would be to ascertain the presence of sub-surface cavities at the polar regions, which could yield similar characteristics to Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) at the lunar poles, and thus host water-ice. Should this be the case, extraction may prove to be easier than at PSRs on the North and South poles of the Moon. The technology mentioned here is mainly brought forward by programs such as NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). Indeed, many missions are planned in the foreseeable future, which should considerably increase the maturity levels of said technologies. LEAPS essentially makes use of soon-to-be off-the-shelf components, or COTS(mid to high TRL), to create a modular and versatile configuration of various payloads, assigning independent tasks to each of them to finally reach a common, final mission objective.