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Virtual Session 2: July 29–30, 2020
NCTS #42295-20

Downloadable Virtual Workshop 2 Program May 28-29 Virtual Session 1 Presentation Recordings

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 Sessions

Given the travel restrictions due to COVID-19, NASA 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.

Attendance is open to all workshop registrants on both days, except for the breakout sessions at the end of each day which will be limited to people who submitted an abstract, or their delegates, and selected invitees. Pre-registration is required.

The first virtual session held May 28-29 included an overview and content that was originally planned for the Tools and Instruments for Surface Science session. It covered various aspects of the instruments and tools that will enable EVAs for conducting scientific exploration.

The next sessions of the Lunar Surface Science Workshop will focus on volatiles (July 29) and samples (July 30). Both days will be a mix of invited/contributed talks and discussion breakouts. Program to follow.

Major questions to be addressed:

  • Volatiles: What we know, what we think we know, what we don’t know
    • What volatiles are present, and how would we sample them at the south pole? How do we transport and curate these samples?
    • What environment would be encountered? What components of the sampling process impact human operations and safety?
    • What measurements are necessary to make in situ to close knowledge gaps?
  • Samples: Identification, collection, curation
    • How do we identify high-priority samples, and how do we collect them? How do we minimize cross-contamination? Are there special samples we want to collect? Are special tools required?
    • How do we need to curate the samples? Are there samples that should be curated in non-standard ways?
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