Related Findings and Recommendations
In the course of developing the science goals and priorities, it became evident to the committee that the successful accomplishment of science at all stages in the Vision for Space Exploration requires that NASA pay early attention to factors that are essential adjuncts.
FINDING 1R: Optimize the partnership between NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission and Science Mission Directorates.
The Vision for Space Exploration has created new opportunities for the accomplishment of space science associated with lunar human exploration. This requires a strong collaboration between the Exploration Systems Mission and Science Mission Directorates. Historically (Apollo, Skylab, ASTP, Shuttle/Spacelab) there have been different management approaches to accomplish such a collaboration; some have been more successful than others. Today there does not appear to be an appropriate management system in place to ensure the best possible integration of human and robotic exploration.
RECOMMENDATION 1R: Prior Space Studies Board reports examined management approaches to the integration of human exploration and space science. They found that an optimum approach consisted of establishing a science management office within (today) the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, reporting jointly to the Science Mission and Exploration Systems Mission Directorates. Such an office should be established as soon as possible to ensure the productive involvement of science planning and implementation ab initio.
FINDING 2R: Identify and develop lunar-specific advanced technology and instrumentation.
To fully achieve individual science goals that are amenable to in situ analysis, instrumentation, or field observations, close attention must be paid to the further development of technology and instruments designed specifically for the Moon as well as for utilization at Earth-based curatorial facilities in order to realize the full capabilities provided by robots and astronauts in the field.
RECOMMENDATION 2R: NASA should create an advanced technology program to develop lunar-specific capabilities that are critical to successful implementation of the lunar science strategy outlined in Table 1. This program should tap the creativity of the engineering and science communities to address development of robotic and instrumentation capability to meet needs that at present are unmet.
FINDING 3R: Plan curatorial and principal investigator facilities for new lunar samples.
Lunar samples returned to Earth in the next two decades could strain the current NASA curatorial facilities and require new and/or modified facilities and procedures. It is anticipated that the volume of new material may exceed that returned by Apollo. Further, both curation and community analyses will require new or refined techniques and instrumentation.
RECOMMENDATION 3R: NASA should evaluate the future needs of curatorial facilities for the collection of new lunar samples. The state and availability of instrumentation for both curation and analyses should be assessed. Such a study should include representatives of the science community in detailed planning of an appropriate strategy.
FINDING 4R: Optimize astronaut lunar field investigations—an integrated human/robotic approach.
Elements of the recommended lunar science will require more extensive geologic and geophysical traverses and complex instrument emplacement than on Apollo. Detailed planning must be based on all data available for the sites being studied and on a clear understanding of astronaut capability. Extensive and close cooperation between lunar scientists, mission developers, and operations planners will be required, as will integration of science with other Vision goals. Because robotics capability has increased greatly since Apollo, astronaut efficiency can be significantly improved with pre-mission and mission use of a new generation of traverse capability, robotic assistants, and autonomous/teleoperated robotic systems.
RECOMMENDATION 4R: NASA should provide astronauts with the best possible technical systems for conducting science traverses and emplacing instruments. An integrated human/robotic program should be developed using robotic assistants and independent autonomous/teleoperated robotic systems. The capabilities of these systems should be designed in cooperation with the science community and operations planning teams that will design lunar surface operations. Extensive training and simulation should be initiated early to help devise optimum exploration strategies.