Lunar Science Targets for Landed Missions
January 10-12, 2018
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA

Co-chairs: Greg Schmidt (SSERVI) and Clive Neal (LEAG)
SOC: Brad Bailey, Ben Bussey, Georgianna Kramer, David Kring, Sam Lawrence, Sarah Noble, Carle Pieters, Chip Shearer, Ryan Ziegler

Our view of the Moon, our nearest neighbor, has improved dramatically in the last decade. A series of missions this century has illuminated the Moon in ways only dreamed of previously. Subsequent investment in lunar science using these mission datasets, analysis of Apollo samples with new technologies, and application of sophisticated modeling has transformed the way we view the Moon. This new view of the Moon has allowed us to ask fundamental questions and target specific sites for more detailed investigation. A key aspect of furthering our understanding of the Moon and its relation to other Solar System bodies will advance a new era of landed lunar missions, first robotic and eventually human.

The Google lunar X-prize has fostered a large commercial interest in the Moon. Teams from around the world are in their last stages of developing their landers, eager to win the prize, but also intent on developing new business models for sustained missions. These commercial firms offer NASA an opportunity to acquire data and samples in new ways. With near-term targets for their launches (starting in 2017), the potential exists for proven landers to be available for NASA’s lunar science and exploration goals. What is needed to be able to take advantage of these new potential opportunities to get to the lunar surface, however, is a set of scientifically prioritized lunar surface targets representing a broad community consensus, for both in-situ analysis and sample return. This workshop is intended to produce such a list of priority targets.

The workshop will commence with a series of invited talks highlighting the contributions of recent lunar missions to detailed knowledge of the lunar surface and subsurface, its geology, and its composition. The workshop will then proceed with a series of contributed presentations highlighting potential lunar landing sites, each describing the individual site’s benefit to science and/or human exploration (e.g., ISRU). The community is invited to propose specific sites on the Moon of high value for landed missions. Participants should discuss the merits of a proposed site in terms of its benefit(s), involving one or more of the following:

a) short term reconnaissance and/or surface science experiments (< one lunar day)

b) sample return

c) long term monitoring (days, years)

d) regional roving experiments (ala MSL)

e) technological demonstrations that feed forward

f) technological demonstrations for ISRU

g) other

MoonTrek, Lunaserve, Quickmap and other tools will be made available in working sessions to perform real-time integrated analyses of selected sites. Finally, the community present at the workshop will be invited to help evaluate and rank the individual sites (the workshop will be online for those not present to allow remote participation). Following the workshop, a subset of the Science Organizing Committee will combine all inputs received into a workshop report, to be reviewed briefly by the community and then delivered to the director of the NASA HQ Planetary Science Division no later than 31 January, 2018.


Determine required elements for contributed talks: As the lunar landing site targets in the contributed talks will be evaluated by the community present at the workshop, a minimum set of information should be presented for each site. This will be decided by the SOC.

Determine ranking method for sites

Release call for abstracts: late August

Abstract due date: late October/early November

Program announced: late November