You guessed right, the moon doesn’t have satellites to send GPS signals.It doesn’t have easily recognizable landmarks, Mapquest, and frankly, it’s not a great destination for the average traveler. But, astronauts are going to have to go there, and NASA has set itself a target date of 2020 to get them there.
Ron Li, a professor at Ohio State University, is planning to find a way to help astronauts find their way around the moon and this is not the first time he has faced this kind of challenge. Professor Li is involved in software development for Spirit and Opportunity, the two rovers for Mars. The experience and knowledge gained from the trip to Mars will make it easier for astronauts navigating the lunar surface.
For his efforts, Professor Li is getting $1.2 million over the next three years to develop a navigation system "that will feel a lot like GPS to the astronauts that use it." However, in all likelihood, it will rely on signals from a set of sensors including lunar beacons, stereo cameras, and orbital imaging sensors.