Every good lunar landing mission needs a landing site! And anyone who has seen my posts and comments over the last few years knows that this is a big interest of mine. I would like to use this forum topic to get people talking about their landing sites.
Some teams have announced sites, some have not. But what do we even mean by a landing site? The idea is scale dependent. I might say I want to land in Sinus Medii, for instance - but it's big, so I could narrow it down further: I want to land in the vicinity of Surveyor 6, to claim the Heritage prize. That's a lot more specific, but even there, I can't land on top of it, I must be off to the side by several km, and of course I need a safe place to land.
I can use Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images to locate a relatively smooth site - or even the older Lunar Orbiter images which are available online. Why use old instead of brand new? You may need to if the best LRO images are taken with high sun angles and you can't see topography very well. So it takes getting to know the data sets a bit, where they are, how you can find what you want, in a useful form. You find an image - but how do you get the coordinates of features in it? It takes a bit of expertise quite different from what you need to build a rover, so really each team needs to include a person with some experience in mapping, image interpretation, etc., preferably some lunar science. (no, I'm not offering, I'm suggesting a student in an Earth Sciences or Planetary Sciences program should be part of the team). Once you have good images you can find the safe landing area - relatively smooth, lacking obvious hazards or minimizing them - and then get the coordinates for them.
You land, and you drive... but to take full advantage of your mission you want other things as well... so you image Surveyor 6 - are there other targets nearby? Well yes, Surveyor 4 crashed not far away, you could go searching for it. That would attract a lot of attention. Or maybe you want dramatic scenery - a big fresh rocky-rimmed crater, or a view from a hilltop as the sun sets. Your images and maps let you plan out the rest of your mission too.
I will post more from time to time about the process, including discussions of data sources and procedures. But for teams who are already well into this, how about letting us in to your progress (it's not like your propulsion or navigation technology, so proprietary it can't be discussed... the pictures are all public and anyone can see where clear spots are).