Due to significant impacts to travel related to COVID-19, the Lunar Surface Science Workshop has been rescheduled as a virtual event. The workshop has been revised to consist of a number of virtual sessions, followed by a face-to-face workshop at a future date. The first virtual session is scheduled for May 28–29, 2020.

Original Workshop Concept

NASA was organizing a workshop to discuss new scientific research that could be enabled by human exploration near the lunar south pole.

NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, and Space Technology Mission Directorate were co-sponsoring a three-day workshop to actively engage the scientific community in order to determine what science could be done by human crews on the lunar surface and how it can be achieved. This workshop was to be held April 28–30, 2020 at the Westin Denver International Airport. Attendance was open only to speakers, or their delegates, and selected invitees. Only one attendee per abstract was permitted. Portions of the workshop were to be streamed live for those who could not attend in person.

Revised Workshop Plan

Purpose and Scope

In accordance with the Space Policy Directive-1, NASA is planning a human return to the Moon’s surface by 2024 as a large next step in human exploration of the solar system. The NASA Artemis program is being conducted in two phases:  Phase 1 will see the next human beings set foot on the lunar surface near the Moon's south pole, and Phase 2 will create a sustained human presence on the lunar surface by 2028. Community input and early integration of science into the exploration architecture are essential to maximizing the science return from the Artemis missions.

Initial strategies for science payload delivery include using the Artemis 2024 lander, as well as pre-deployment of tools and experiments through Commercial Lunar Payloads Services (CLPS) deliveries. Astronauts could then deploy/operate/utilize these tools and experiments once on the surface. It is expected that some science investigations may require the attention of a crew to deploy/conduct experiments, while other investigations may simply use the Artemis architecture as infrastructure to supply power, communications, etc. to otherwise autonomous systems.

Virtual Session

Given the travel restrictions due to COVID-19, NASA has decided to conduct a series of virtual sessions to cover some of the content of the original workshop, and then follow up with a new in-person workshop in the future.

We are starting with two half-day virtual sessions on May 28–29. Attendance is open to all workshop registrants on both days, except for the May 29 breakout sessions which will be limited to people who submitted an abstract, or their delegates, and selected invitees. Pre-registration is required.

The May 28 program will consist of what would have been the initial Overview session. It will contain presentations from multiple NASA mission directorates and international space agencies. It will also include some overview talks of both the science value of the Moon, as well as science that can be enabled by human missions to the lunar surface.

The May 29 program will mostly include the content that was originally planned for the Tools and Instruments for Surface Science session. It will cover various aspects of the instruments and tools that will enable EVAs for conducting scientific exploration. This is meant to be a working meeting with a mixture of talks and discussion periods.

One goal is to capture attendees' thoughts on a couple of overarching themes.

Theme #1: Instrument EVA ConOps

This breakout session will describe the various Concepts of Operations (ConOps) for deploying lunar science payloads during crewed surface exploration. Forward work will include generating a deliverable of how each category of instrument (i.e., handheld, rover-deployed, etc.) will impact the EVA system. Examples of topics discussed will include how much crew time will be required for instrument operations, what kind of user interfaces are required, and how each category of payload will impact future Artemis EVAs. The discussion will be summarized into a deliverable for Artemis surface mission planning purposes.

Theme #2: Developing EVA Compatible Tools/Instruments

This breakout session will explore questions, comments, and knowledge gaps from the scientific and instrument development community in working to develop EVA-compatible science instruments. Forward work will include generating a deliverable of questions and factors to consider when designing science instruments for astronauts to deploy on Artemis EVAs. Constraints to be discussed will include power, thermal, and communications requirements, hardware design parameters, etc. The discussion will be summarized into a deliverable for instrument development program purposes.

The intent is to continue the discussion on these themes after the virtual session. We will be announcing the mechanism by which we will enable this post-session discussion.

Note: All electronic submission forms are part of the Meeting Portal, which requires users to set up a personal profile to access our electronic forms (setting up a profile is quick and easy, requiring only a few minutes of your time).