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The First Steps in a Bold New Era of Human Discovery: Candidate Artemis III Landing Sites

A Lunar Surface Science Workshop

Workshop Description

The United States will return humans to the surface of the Moon no earlier than 2025 as the first of a series of crewed missions to the lunar surface and the adventurous first steps of an ambitious 21st-century program of human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

As clearly and lucidly outlined in the Artemis III Science Definition Team (SDT) Report, the definitive statement of Artemis III mission priorities, the results of the Artemis III mission will help redefine our understanding of the solar system and usher in a new era of planetary science. The ultimate location of the Artemis III landing is of paramount importance for determining the scientific outcomes of the Artemis III mission, the intended first of many human missions to the Artemis Polar Exploration Zone (the region poleward of 84° South latitude).

Workshop participants are strongly encouraged to read the Artemis III SDT Report in preparation for the workshop, which outlines the expected science outcomes of the first crewed mission and the associated architectural constraints. As outlined in the SDT Report, while hardware elements of the Artemis architecture are evolving, it is presently clearly defined that Artemis III will enable the following:

  • Approximately six days of surface operations
  • Return of valuable non-conditioned samples similar to Apollo 17 sample collection techniques
  • Up to four walking EVAs of variable duration focused on sample collection and instrument emplacement, with a maximum distance from the lander of 2 km

Selecting a landing site for Artemis III in the Artemis South Pole Exploration Zone is a challenging, multi-faceted, and multi-directorate endeavor involving many stakeholders balancing aspects of engineering and vehicle performance, operational needs, safety considerations, scientific discovery, the emerging cislunar economy, and strategic national posture. Nevertheless, scientific exploration is a critical component of the multi-stakeholder engagement strategy that NASA is executing to ensure that the Artemis III mission provides a firm foundation for subsequent missions. NASA’s Lunar Surface Science Workshops (LSSWs) offer an ideal venue to garner community input so it can be rapidly included in aspects of the decision-making process. It is expected that other workshops and community forums on the topic of the Artemis III landing site will occur as hardware and mission design aspects continue to be refined.

Goals of the Workshop

On April 4–5, 2023, we will hold a virtual NASA LSSW to update the community on the Artemis site selection process and to facilitate discussions of the scientific value of the 13 Artemis III landing region candidates.

The goals of this workshop are twofold:

  • Communicate aspects of the Artemis architecture that influence mission design parameters impacting the Artemis III landing site decision
  • Provide a forum for community input and discussion on how a landing at one of the Artemis III landing region candidates will address identified scientific objectives

Code of Conduct

USRA/LPI is committed to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race, religion, or other protected status. We do not tolerate harassment of meeting participants in any form. USRA/LPI expects that all participants will abide by this Code of Conduct, creating an environment free from harassment, discrimination, disruption, incivility, or violence of any kind. We expect participants to exercise consideration and respect in their speech and actions and refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior. Report issues, concerns, or violations of this Code of Conduct directly to USRA/LPI management at USRA-LPI Meetings Code of Conduct. The full USRA/LPI Code of Conduct can be found here.

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