TABLE 3.1 Primary Science Goals of Lunar Science Concepts and Links to Overarching Themes

 

 

Overarching Themes

 

Science Concepts

Science Goals

Early Earth-Moon System

Terrestrial Planet Differentiation and Evolution

Solar System Impact Record

Lunar Environment

Implications for Life

1. The bombardment history of the inner solar system is uniquely revealed on the Moon.

1a. Test the cataclysm hypothesis by determining the spacing in time of the creation of lunar basins.

X

 

X

 

X

1b. Anchor the early Earth-Moon impact flux curve by determining the age of the oldest lunar basin (South Pole-Aitken Basin).

X

X

X

 

X

1c. Establish a precise absolute chronology.

X

X

X

 

X

1d. Assess the recent impact flux.

 

 

X

X

X

1e. Study the role of secondary impact craters on crater counts.

 

 

X

 

 

2. The structure and composition of the lunar interior provide fundamental information on the evolution of a differentiated planetary body.

2a. Determine the thickness of the lunar crust (upper and lower) and characterize its lateral variability on regional and global scales.

 

X

X

 

 

2b. Characterize the chemical/physical stratification in the mantle, particularly the nature of the putative 500-km discontinuity and the composition of the lower mantle.

 

X

 

 

 

2c. Determine the size, composition, and state (solid/liquid) of the core of the Moon.

X

X

 

 

 

2d. Characterize the thermal state of the interior and elucidate the workings of the planetary heat engine.

X

X

 

 

 

3. Key planetary processes are manifested in the diversity of lunar crustal rocks.

3a. Determine the extent and composition of the primary feldspathic crust, KREEP layer, and other products of planetary differentiation.

 

X

 

 

 

3b. Inventory the variety, age, distribution, and origin of lunar rock types.

X

X

 

X

 

3c. Determine the composition of the lower crust and bulk Moon.

X

X

 

 

 

3d. Quantify the local and regional complexity of the current lunar crust.

 

X

X

 

 

3e. Determine the vertical extent and structure of the megaregolith.

 

 

X

X

X

4. The lunar poles are special environments that may bear witness to the volatile flux over the latter part of solar system history.

4a. Determine the compositional state (elemental, isotopic, mineralogic) and compositional distribution (lateral and depth) of the volatile component in lunar polar regions.

 

 

 

X

X

4b. Determine the source(s) for lunar polar volatiles.

 

 

X

X

 

4c. Understand the transport, retention, alteration, and loss processes that operate on volatile materials at permanently shaded lunar regions.

 

 

 

X

 

4d. Understand the physical properties of the extremely cold (and possibly volatile rich) polar regolith.

 

 

 

X

 

4e. Determine what the cold polar regolith reveals about the ancient solar environment.

 

 

 

X

 



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