« Previous: 7 Concepts Related to the Implementation of Science
Suggested Citation: "8 Concluding Remarks." National Research Council. The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.

Concluding Remarks

It is the unanimous consensus of the Committee on the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon that the Moon offers profound scientific value. The infrastructure provided by sustained human presence can enable remarkable science opportunities if those opportunities are evaluated and designed into the effort from the outset. While the expense of human exploration cannot likely be justified on the basis of science alone, the committee emphasizes that careful attention to science opportunity is very much in the interest of a stable and sustainable lunar program. In the opinion of the committee, a vigorous near-term robotic exploration program providing global access is central to the next phase of scientific exploration of the Moon and is necessary both to prepare for the efficient utilization of human presence and to maintain scientific momentum as this major national program moves forward.

Principal Finding: Lunar activities apply to broad scientific and exploration concerns.

Lunar science as described in this report has much broader implications than simply studying the Moon. For example, a better determination of the lunar impact flux during early solar system history would have profound implications for comprehending the evolution of the solar system, early Earth, and the origin and early evolution of life. A better understanding of the lunar interior would bear on models of planetary formation in general and on the origin of the Earth-Moon system in particular. And exploring the possibly ice-rich lunar poles could reveal important information about the history and distribution of solar system volatiles. Furthermore, although some of the committee’s objectives are focused on lunar-specific questions, one of the basic principles of comparative planetology is that each world studied enables researchers to better understand other worlds, including our own. Improving our understanding of such processes as cratering and volcanism on the Moon will provide valuable points of comparison for these processes on the other terrestrial planets.

Suggested Citation: "8 Concluding Remarks." National Research Council. The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
Page 81
Next: Bibliography »
The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Final Report Get This Book
Buy Paperback | $31.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Because of the Moon s unique place in the evolution of rocky worlds, it is a prime focus of NASA s space exploration vision. Currently NASA is defining and implementing a series of robotic orbital and landed missions to the Moon as the initial phase of this vision. To realize the benefits of this activity, NASA needs a comprehensive, well-validated, and prioritized set of scientific research objectives. To help establish those objectives, NASA asked the NRC to provide guidance on the scientific challenges and opportunities enabled by sustained robotic and human exploration of the Moon during the period 2008-2023 and beyond. This final report presents a review of the current understanding of the early earth and moon; the identification of key science concepts and goals for moon exploration; an assessment of implementation options; and a set of prioritized lunar science concepts, goals, and recommendations. An interim report was released in September 2006.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
  10. ×

    And that's about it! What do you think of the new OpenBook? Click the Feedback button and tell us. Happy reading!

    « Back Done