Space agencies participating in the International Coordination Group (ISECG) are discussing an international approach for human and robotic space exploration to achieve broad societal, intellectual and economic benefits. This document is a White Paper of scientific opportunities enabled by the presence of humans, and their supporting infrastructure, as they explore the , as documented in ISECG’s Global Exploration Roadmap. The Science White Paper informs the evolution of the Global Exploration Roadmap. It was developed by ISECG agencies together with a Science Advisory Group, including representatives from the international science community and reflecting the views and inputs from an open interaction with this community.

ISECG was established to advance the Global Exploration Strategy by providing a non-binding forum where space agencies share their objectives and plans, and explore synergistic concepts. ISECG agencies are committed to the development of non-binding products that enable participating agencies to take concrete steps toward partnerships that reflect a globally coordinated exploration effort.


Executive Summary pag. 4

CHAPTER 1: Introduction pag. 7

CHAPTER 2: The Scientific Imperative – pag. 11 Overarching Science Themes

CHAPTER 3: Humans to a Gateway pag. 13 in the Lunar Vicinity TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE

CHAPTER 4: Humans to the Lunar Surface pag. 17

CHAPTER 5: Humans to a Near-Earth pag. 23

CHAPTER 6: – The Horizon Goal pag. 29

CHAPTER 7: Conclusions pag. 31

APPENDIX 1: Selected International Science and pag. 32 Strategy Documents

APPENDIX 2: Science Advisory Group pag. 34

3 infrastructure can support and small EXECUTIVE SUMMARY by providing services such as deployment and communication relay. It can facilitate remote The Global Exploration Roadmap reflects a controlled robotic exploration on the lunar surface. coordinated international effort to prepare for space It can also be used for investigations in areas such exploration missions beginning with the International as , fundamental , collecting and continuing to the lunar vicinity, the interplanetary materials, and heliophysics. , and Mars. These missions are part of an exploration endeavour available for pursuit by The Lunar Surface: Scientific investigations, all space agencies, on their own or in collaboration including collecting the right samples, on the Moon with others. Human exploration drives innovation will improve our understanding of the origin and and economic expansion, addresses space and evolution of the Earth-Moon system, and of terrestrial terrestrial challenges to improve life on Earth, and in general. The Moon has experienced many inspires people around the world. Integral to these of the geologic processes that have shaped the benefits are scientific investigation and discovery. terrestrial planets in our Solar System (e.g. impact cratering, volcanism, tectonics, etc.). We can date The Scientific Imperative: Space exploration will impact events and decipher the impact flux for the result in scientific discoveries that have significance Earth-Moon system over geologic time to better not only to the international science community but understand its role for the evolution or extinction of life to humanity as a whole. Opportunities for scientific on Earth. The and subsurface also provide a discovery associated with exploration missions are historical repository of the Solar System’s evolution. broadly captured in two themes: “Understanding Our Human presence could permit the emplacement Place in the ” and “Living and Working in of delicate surface instrumentation on the lunar Space”. surface. Indeed, the is unique • Understanding Our Place in the Universe: This in that it is “radio quiet”, offering the for theme is about discerning the physical nature of sensitive radio astronomy measurements that look the Universe around us and our place within it. back in time to the earliest moments of the Universe. We want to understand the Earth-Moon system, Investigating the physiological response to working asteroids and Mars and how they formed and in reduced on the lunar surface could help developed. We will conduct new observations of prepare for keeping humans healthy on the surface the cosmos, including our own Earth. Finally, we of Mars, whilst providing new insights into a range of will attempt to understand the formation and the human health issues for Earth. evolution of life. • Living and Working in Space: This theme is Near-Earth Asteroids: Near-Earth asteroids exhibit reflecting the drive for humans to extend our considerable diversity within their population and they reach into space, which also provides important have witnessed events and conditions throughout the scientific and technological advances to improve history of the Solar System. The presence of humans life on Earth. We want to learn more about how will permit placement of complex instruments on humans safely explore the Solar System, and the asteroid surface, as well as the ability to sample reduce risks that humans face in space. We also surface and subsurface sites to obtain information want to learn about the local resources in our on the ancient history of the Solar System which planetary neighbourhood, and how explorers larger, evolved planetary bodies have lost. Carefully can maximise the use of what we find around us. chosen samples by a trained explorer can also help us to better understand the thousands of The Next Step Beyond Low-Earth Orbit: The vicinity we already have available for study by scientists, of the Moon is the ideal location as the next step providing geologic context to meteorites that have in the expansion of human space activity from the formed much of the paradigm for the origin of the International Space Station leading to investigations Solar System. We will also work to better understand of the Moon, asteroids, and Mars. This deep the internal structures of Near-Earth Asteroids, a enables testing and validation vital part of the puzzle needed in order to develop of habitation systems and related operations mitigation strategies for addressing threats from an techniques, while remaining close enough to Earth Earth-bound asteroid. as we learn to manage exploration mission risks. Increasingly longer duration missions to a habitat Mars: Mars is the shared horizon goal driving in the deep space environment enable study of the sustainable human exploration. Mars has the greatest interplay of radiation, microgravity and isolation to Earth in past and current planetary on human health valuable for future to processes, and may have the best record of when more distant destinations, notably Mars, as well life started in our Solar System and of catastrophic as health research applicable back on Earth. The change in planetary evolution. Our robotic missions

4 have shown that Mars has significant that is observations, thus returning the best samples promising for the possible existence of life (past and/ to address specific science and exploration or present) and supporting humans. Exploration of questions. In addition, human missions typically Mars will result in answers to profound scientific and return larger amounts of samples per . philosophical questions such as: How did life start in our Solar System? Did life exist on Mars and does it • Humans are uniquely capable of installing, exist today? What can we learn about Earth’s past and maintaining, upgrading, and troubleshooting future by studying Mars? Building on over 50 problems with complex scientific equipment, of robotic-enabled science and eventually, sample as historically exemplified with the Hubble return, human explorers on the surface of Mars will telescope servicing missions. be critical to reveal the subtleties needed to answer these complex and fundamental questions. Humans • Humans can often achieve tasks faster than will make possible intelligent sampling in geologic robots and act intelligently in exploratory science. context, iterative environmental field investigations and sample preparation/analyses in a habitat-based • As demonstrated by Apollo and on the laboratory. Humans will advance a multi-disciplinary International Space Station, humans are unique set of scientific objectives, such as investigations in their ability to recognize and to adapt their into , atmospheric science, medicine, response to new observations or serendipitous and geoscience. discoveries.

The Value of Human Explorers for Science: In addition to scientific benefits, gaining operational Human exploration brings the human element to the experience in deep space or on a planetary surface is forefront of scientific discovery, bringing flexibility, extremely beneficial for the later exploration of more adaptability, experience, dexterity, creativity, distant targets, such as Mars. intuition, and the ability to make real time decisions. This was demonstrated by the Apollo missions to the Humans have long looked to the and asked, lunar surface. While some science objectives can be “What is out there?” Exploration, investigation, and achieved by suitably implemented robotic missions, scientific discovery are essential elements in the many are greatly facilitated by a human presence, and some may even be wholly impractical otherwise. history of humanity, and the same will be true in our future. Human exploration missions significantly • Humans can efficiently and intelligently select increase the potential for scientific discovery at the and collect samples from a diverse range of lunar vicinity, the Moon, asteroids, and Mars. localities. Trained explorers will also provide a broader geological context due to integrated

5 courtesy of NASA


Purpose and Scope System incrementally leading to exploration of Since its emergence over 50 years ago, space Mars. The collaborative missions envisioned in the exploration has garnered significant governmental Global Exploration Roadmap will contribute to the support across the world and established a profound achievement of many of these investigations, and legacy for all humankind. The resulting advances in participating agencies will determine the specific science and knowledge have delivered invaluable nature of scientific activities undertaken. This paper improvements to the quality of life on Earth. Propelled focuses on the science enabled by the near-term by ongoing investments in the public and targets for human exploration: a gateway in the lunar private sectors, the next steps include opportunities vicinity, the lunar surface, and asteroids. A detailed for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. The study of science enabled by humans to Mars is left rapid progression of and capabilities to a future white paper. has enabled human and robotic explorers to generate even more new expertise and perspectives about our This paper discusses science enabled by the place in the Universe. The exploration of space is an presence of humans and facilitated by the engine of innovation and inspiration, and science infrastructure associated with human exploration. continues to be an important part of this endeavour. The latter often enables “opportunistic science” by permitting measurements that would otherwise be The International Space Exploration Coordination less practical and/or affordable, and indeed might Group (ISECG) is examining a global approach for not occur. Additionally, the presence of humans may human and robotic space exploration that maximises represent the capability to service or upgrade these societal, intellectual and economic benefits. The instruments. status of this work is documented in the ISECG Global Exploration Roadmap and the ISECG white paper, The scientific opportunities presented in this “Benefits Stemming from Space Exploration”. The document reflect the collective views of a science Global Exploration Roadmap reflects a coordinated community representing a variety of nations and global effort to prepare for collaborative space science disciplines. An international Science exploration missions beginning with the International Advisory Group closely linked to organizational Space Station (ISS) and continuing to the vicinity of structures of national agencies was chartered by the Moon, the lunar surface, asteroids and Mars. ISECG to lead this engagement. The group requested inputs broadly, in coordination with the International This document highlights opportunities for scientific Council for Science’s Committee on Space investigation related to humanity’s greatest Research (COSPAR) Panel for Exploration, NASA’s questions, created as humans explore the Solar Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute

Figure 1: From the earliest civilisations to the present day, it has always been part of human nature to explore the unknown. Throughout history, exploration has led to new scientific discoveries and transformed our way of living (Image courtesy of ESA)

7 (SSERVI), the European Science Foundation, and The lunar vicinity, often referred to as cislunar space, ISECG participating agencies. is the strategy’s next phase beyond low-Earth orbit. This region of deep space enables testing and Space agencies maintain individualized processes affirmation of exploration capabilities and operations, for defining the highest priority science questions for in an environment near Earth that fosters experiential their specific programmes or communities. These learning of the risks and challenges of spaceflight. approaches often include substantial and extended The lunar vicinity is also an appropriate staging post interactions with relevant science communities, for exploration missions to the Moon, asteroids and resulting in a report that guides science exploration Mars. A driving objective for lunar vicinity missions is direction for a set time-period. This document does validation of the habitation capabilities that will keep not refer to any single agency publication, nor define humans safe and productive for the long duration the scientific priority of specific activities; it draws missions beyond the Earth-Moon system, where the from and builds upon the significant scientific reviews deep-space environment is dangerous and there and individual agency interactions demonstrated in are limited options for timely return to the Earth’s the reports listed in Appendix 1. surface in case of emergency. The current strategy calls for missions of increasing length Global Space Exploration – the ISECG Global conducted at a platform in the lunar vicinity. Internal Exploration Roadmap and external volume and services will be available to The ISECG Global Exploration Roadmap highlights science payloads. This infrastructure will also feature participating agency efforts to prepare for human a communications relay terminal for interaction with and robotic exploration of worlds that may someday assets on the lunar surface or in Earth-Moon space. support a continuous human presence. Sustainable, affordable, productive, and safe human exploration Human missions to the lunar surface could be enabled of the surface of Mars is a long-term, internationally by a lunar that uses such cislunar infrastructure, shared objective that shapes the Global Exploration while many robotic lander missions may also choose Roadmap. The pathway to the horizon goal of to go directly to the lunar surface.. A limited campaign Mars informs capability evolution and technology of human missions to the lunar surface can contribute investments, enabling human journeys to multiple to addressing the highest priority science and destinations outlined further in the paper. We exploration goals and allow agencies to advance and acknowledge that these targets (including Mars) offer demonstrate capabilities needed for future missions various merits and benefits, and their prioritization (e.g., sampling and curation techniques, planetary may differ across agencies. protection protocols, dust mitigation technologies, rover tests, development of human-robotic synergies in The Global Exploration Roadmap is a synergistic a hostile environment, etc.). Surface support systems, human and robotic space exploration roadmap such as pressurized rovers, can be positioned prior that recognises the criticality of increased interplay to crew arrival by cargo lander or relocation of assets between human and robotic missions, and supports during crew missions to the surface. the partnerships needed to implement human exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. This Missions further into the Solar System will follow, international and cooperative vision encourages and may include missions to asteroids in their native multiple partners to play key roles, meet their national , orbit and , and to the Mars system, objectives, and achieve individual and shared including its , and , prior to scientific priorities. The strategy commences with sending humans to the surface of Mars. If a Near- low-Earth orbit activities including ISS utilisation and Earth asteroid becomes a threat, a mission to deal expands into the Solar System, eventually leading to with that issue might be possible with the capabilities human exploration of the Red . The GER reflects demonstrated in the lunar vicinity. These deep- a step-wise journey that advances critical human space missions are not specifically addressed in the space exploration capabilities to accomplish a range Global Exploration Roadmap for several reasons. of science and exploration objectives with human New advanced technologies can be expected to be crews. The first steps of this integrated strategy are available in the next decade. In addition, discoveries the of this paper, including missions within made during earlier missions will likely influence the near-term planning horizon. Space agencies subsequent plans and missions. currently are formulating these programmes and developing the necessary infrastructure for future This Science White Paper purposely focuses on the implementation. Human mission planning will rely scientific opportunities of space explorations beyond on observations acquired by robotic missions low-Earth orbit. However, it needs to be understood (“ground truth”), and create opportunities to leverage and clearly articulated, that these activities are not the unique contributions of human and robotic assumed to compete against or to replace robotic explorers. science missions undertaken under space science

8 programs or fundamental and applied research in low complex equipment. Examples include: (a) long- Earth orbit. Research under microgravity and other range surface rovers and drilling equipment in qualities of the space environment is expected to support of sample collection; (b) the establishment continue well beyond the lifetime of the International of complex geophysical networks to probe the Space Station with excellent potential for benefits to interior and astrophysical ; (c) society, however, those activities are not subject of equipment for manipulating and characterizing discussion in this particular document. the geotechnical properties of the , and; (d) collection of repetitive, geographically-spaced Value Added by Human Scientific Exploration data (e.g., geologic mapping). The Apollo programme demonstrated that humans on the lunar surface brought human cognition to the • Large-Scale Exploratory Activities: This includes forefront of scientific discovery. Although the pursuit those activities that may be required to locate, of many science objectives is feasible with suitable identify, and sample important but rare and/or robotic missions, a human presence greatly enhances buried geological materials. Human presence on the process for some activities and becomes wholly the surface makes these types of activities far necessary for others. Human crews bring additional more efficient. Lunar examples include possible flexibility, adaptability, experience, motivation, mantle outcrops, buried lava flows, impact-melt and sampling ability to certain missions that can sheets, paleoregolith layers, possible ‘exotic’ be impractical to replicate with an entirely robotic materials derived from the Earth and other telepresence. Specifically, renewed exploration with terrestrial planets, and lunar volatile deposits. a human-robotic partnership presents the following scientific advantages over solely robotic missions: • Feedforward Activities: Anticipatory in nature, these actions occur in response to changes in our • Sample Selection and Collection: Humans can understanding of the exploration risks, challenges, perform efficient and sophisticated collection of and elements that result from near-term missions. samples from more diverse localities, broader Gaining operational experience on a planetary geographical areas, and greater physical surface is essential for later exploration of more properties than possible through purely robotic distant targets (e.g., the moons Phobos means. Apollo revealed that suitably trained and Deimos, and the surface of Mars). equipped with surface mobility are • Serendipitous Discoveries: Human beings are significantly more efficient at sample selection uniquely able to recognize new observations or and collection. Additionally, it is likely that phenomena and adapt their responses, even to human missions can return a greater quantity of unanticipated, immediate, or novel situations. geological samples. Relevant examples include the discoveries of • Development of Geologic Context: Humans “seatbelt rock” during and orange soil can develop large-, medium- and small-scale on . Both of these instances were key context in real time. Understanding the geologic to enabling critical discoveries that increased history of a given field area is key to intelligent our understanding of the age and nature of lunar sample collection, particularly when selecting for volcanism, as well as volatile contributions to diversity. The illustrated the value lunar magma genesis and crustal evolution. of humans on planetary surfaces in this regard. Similarly, observational studies of asteroids and laboratory studies of meteorites have shown that the surfaces of near-Earth asteroids experience continued mixing of often diverse materials. Consequently, determining the geologic history of a given area and using that information to conduct intelligent sample selection will be the key to returning optimal samples related to specific scientific questions. The cognition of trained human explorers adds real-time observation, knowledge synthesis, and decision-making that are beyond current robotic capability and key to exploring planetary surfaces and enabling new discoveries.

• Surface Experiments and Equipment Maintenance: Humans are uniquely capable of maintaining, Figure 2: Artist impression of human lunar surface infrastructure. upgrading, evaluating, and repairing large and (Image courtesy of ESA)

9 Figure 3: One particular value of humans for planetary surface science is the ability to emplace and to service delicate scientific instruments. The Apollo missions brought important science packages to the lunar surface that were deployed by the astronauts and continued to deliver high-value science well beyond the human surface mission. (Image courtesy of NASA)


The search for knowledge is an essential part maximum scientific return from human missions to of why humans explore. Scientific exploration Mars. Necessary intermediate steps include robotic addresses overarching questions that society seeks exploration programmes with strong scientific and to answer:- “Where did we come from?”, “Are we exploration content, such as a robotic Mars sample alone in the Universe?”, “What will happen to us return mission, that has been identified as a high in the future?”, “How far can humans safely travel science priority. in space?”. This search for knowledge is best achieved by a combination of humans and robots The Global Exploration Roadmap offers remarkable acting synergistically, because exploration without opportunities for science. In some cases, the humans lacks important societal perspectives. In proposed exploration location is the ideal location addition, many scientific objectives depend on the for that science, in others the existence of the presence of humans in space, which requires them infrastructure associated with the human missions to live and work in extreme environments. Drivers permits investigations for science per se as well as for for human exploratory missions include scientific, achieving new understanding of the implications and technological, cultural and economic aspects. Above applications of science for future exploration. Given all, the search for habitability and the possibility of the significant logistic and constraints, science life beyond Earth is one of the intellectual driving associated with deep space missions will likely be in the endeavour to explore our Solar System. focused on the essential scientific research that cannot be performed in any current platform on or The Global Exploration Roadmap and this White near Earth. For example, applied human physiology, Paper focus on the first steps on a sustainable fundamental studies of life science processes, and pathway to Mars; namely, the Moon and Near-Earth testing of life support equipment all depend on a asteroids. Therefore, a vision for an international range of test conditions, and require experimentation Solar System exploration venture should prepare across different platforms. for the long-term global endeavour with the horizon goal of sending humans to Mars. This paper will In this paper, we describe the science associated address how and asteroids, with deep space missions using the following two specifically with scientific discoveries and findings themes, “Understanding Our Place in the Universe”, enabled by human exploration, helps to prepare the and “Living and Working in Space”.

Habitable Zone of Earth’s Solar System

Figure 4: A key topic of the science that will be enabled by human exploration into the system is connected to the co-evolution of life with the planetary environment and life sciences. The current exploration destinations where humans can go are within the so-called habitable zone of Earth’s solar system, i.e. the orbital from the where the environmental conditions allow for liquid water to exist on the planetary surface. (Image courtesy of ESA)

11 Understanding Our Place in the Universe “How do we sustain life outside Earth?” Addressing This theme covers a multitude of scientific disciplines both of these questions may also provide important that collectively will further understanding of the advancements in scientific and technological physical nature of the Universe and our place within knowledge that can improve life on Earth. This theme it. It includes the Earth-Moon system and near-Earth encompasses both science and engineering. We asteroids, and their formation and development. want to learn more about how humans are physically Overarching questions include “How did the terrestrial able to explore the Solar System, and reduce risks planets and asteroids form and evolve?” and “How that humans face in space. We also want to use does life evolve with its planetary environment?” scientific results to determine how explorers will use local resources, to maximize the use of what we find This effort will feature new observations of the around us by “living off the land”. This would be a shift cosmos and Earth as well as research to understand from the current paradigm of taking everything with the building blocks for the evolution of life. Key us from Earth. Additionally, these resources have high disciplines include astronomy, planetary geology and intrinsic scientific value. The key disciplines involved geophysics, solar physics, life sciences, medicine, in this theme include human physiology, behaviour psychology, space physics, astrobiology, and many and performance, life sciences, planetary geology, others. astrobiology and engineering sciences related to life support and spaceflight. Note that these distinct scientific themes and exploration goals are intricately interconnected; just The next three chapters describe the international as science and exploration enable and support one science community’s priorities in relation to the another. missions described in the Global Exploration Roadmap. Although it is possible that these missions Living and Working in Space may not achieve all of the priority objectives, they This theme combines many scientific topics demonstrate the richness of the scientific potential associated with humanity’s drive to extend its reach of each step and will inform future human mission further into the Solar System. Overarching questions planning efforts. These mission themes are presented include: “How do we become a spacefaring species?” in the order that they are likely to occur.

image courtesy of NASA

Figure 5: The International Space Station is a fitting example of an international human exploration endeavour that enables world-class scientific research.


Building on the achievements of the International leverage this capability, and this chapter introduces Space Station, the vicinity of the Moon is a potential several potential opportunities. next step leading to sustainable human exploration of the Moon, asteroids, and Mars. Although any The term “lunar vicinity” encompasses a variety of deep space environment presents significant lunar orbits as well as the Earth-Moon Lagrangian challenges when compared with low-Earth orbit points. The proposed gateway will be capable of missions, the Moon’s close proximity to Earth can moving among such locations based on various enable development of the techniques and advanced science and utilisation goals. capabilities needed for further human exploration of the Solar System. Stable orbits in this region One scenario involves a crew traveling to the of space will be used for staging and long-term gateway and conducting scientific experiments that support of capabilities such as reusable human lunar benefit from its current location before returning to landers and spacecraft for Mars exploration. The Earth. The uncrewed gateway would then move to infrastructure in the lunar vicinity will offer numerous a new location with a different selection of scientific opportunities for scientific benefit based on readily opportunities for future crew visits. It is likely that the available resources, crew interaction and an ideal initial gateway will not be permanently occupied. As vantage point for the study of deep space, the Sun, will be discussed in this chapter, the gateway offers the Moon, and Earth. scientific opportunities even when uninhabited.

The GER envisions assembling this human-tended Figure 6 illustrates several orbits that a gateway could infrastructure and conducting a series of extended- occupy (or deployable instruments could reach) in duration crewed missions including a potential Mars addition to the Earth-Moon Lagrangian (EML) points. mission simulation, as preparation for missions Each orbit provides certain advantages. For example, beyond the Earth-Moon system. ISECG agencies are EML2 orbits provide direct access to the unexplored continuing to engage the broad scientific community lunar far side while simultaneously being visible from in identifying specific investigations well-suited to Earth for communications.

Orbit Type Orbit Period Lunar (or L-Point) E-M Orientation Amplitude Range Distant Retrograde Orbit ~14 days 70,000 km Equatorial Earth-Moon L2 Halo 8 to 14 days 0 to 60,000 km (L2) Dependent on size Near-Rectilinear (NRHO) 6 to 8 days 2,000 to 75,000 km Roughly Polar Elliptical (ELO) ~14 hrs 100 to 10,000 km Equatorial Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) ~2 hrs 100 km Any inclination

DRO Earth L 1 ELO LLO L2 x


L2 Halo Figure 6: The ability of a gateway to move among possible lunar orbits or orbits around Lagrangian points enables additional science opportunities. The orbits include Distant Retrograde Orbit (DRO), Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO), Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) and Elliptical Lunar NRHO Orbit (ELO), as well as a Halo orbit around EML2. z image courtesy of NASA modified by ESA

13 New science data also can be acquired before the through better characterization of the proposed gateway reaches the Moon, or during crew landing site. Such operations can also achieve to the gateway. During the journey from Earth orbit science objectives, such as returning a sample to the Moon, experiments can be conducted on from the Moon’s South Pole Aitken Basin. This phenomena affected by distance from the Sun, is recognized as a high scientific priority and Earth or the Moon, and changes in the radiation conducting a human-assisted sample return environment with passage through the Van Allen mission using the gateway would permit efficient belts. Examples include experiments that: selection of carefully chosen samples to return. A mission where the samples come from the lunar • Monitor lunar evolution of the entire surface to the gateway, and return with the crew, Moon through a monthly cycle could potentially result in an increased amount • Quantify impact flashes through the lunar night of returned sample, compared to a purely • Monitor human physiology and biomedical robotic mission. While lunar telepresence can changes as the habitat or vehicle moves outside be conducted from Earth, the latency is an order the Earth’s magnetic field of magnitude lower (<0.5 seconds versus ~5 • Install cosmic dust/micrometeorite collectors seconds) which enables streamlined operations in • Target the to facilitate a lunar of addition to other potential benefits. For example, the Sun to study coronae/Sun compositions that the Moon’s permanently shadowed regions are not distorted by Earth’s (PSRs) have high scientific and exploration value, • Monitor Earth exosphere () in the but are difficult to explore due to extremely low far UV which extends halfway to the Moon, temperatures. A rover investigating a PSR will attempting to estimate radiation and its have limited time to conduct operations, and accurate extension that could change with solar the very low latency enabled by control from a activity. gateway could significantly maximize the results. It is generally accepted that a latency of less than Understanding Our Place in the Universe half a second permits “real time” operations, i.e. The next steps that humans and robots take into the latency does not affect activities. Low-latency the Solar System show great promise for significant teleoperated robots can also install scientific technological advancement, scientific discovery, instruments on the lunar surface. For example, and cultural/societal impact. Crews living and advanced mission scenarios for exploring the working in close proximity to the Moon will provide Cosmic of the Universe could be unprecedented opportunities for lunar exploration accomplished with the deployment of a low radio through the application of human-robotic partnership. frequency telescope on the lunar surface. In Such a programme will use the Moon as a test bed addition to the science that could be achieved by for future collaboration on asteroids and Mars, thus tele-operation of a rover on the Moon’s surface, reducing risk and increasing operational expertise another benefit is maximizing the efficiency of for missions far away from Earth. These activities the human-robotic partnership. One example will enhance our understanding of the Moon, the of potential tele-presence in future human Universe, and the human experience by advancing exploration is operation of rovers on the surface scientific knowledge across multiple scientific fields. of Mars, controlled by humans in martian orbit or This compelling rationale for the exploration of the on one of the martian moons Phobos or Deimos. lunar surface is described further in Chapter 4: Humans to the Lunar Surface. • Lunar Surface Science Using Telepresence: Telepresence requires that a human operator controls the actions of a remotely operated robot. The teleoperation of robotic assets on the lunar surface by humans from a gateway would permit very low-latency robotic control that could significantly enhance exploration of the Moon. Initially, telepresence provides the opportunity to conduct new science before sending humans to a planetary surface, which has implications for image courtesy of NASA future human Mars missions. Tele-operations also allow human presence at sites that are Figure 7: Low latency tele-robotics offers a range of new scientific opportunities. One example is a concept where a crew on the too difficult or dangerous for humans to visit in deep would use a rover on the lunar surface to person. Tele-operation of robotic precursor collect high-value samples that are launched to the habitat, and missions to and prepare sites identified then returned with the crew. Preparatory work for such a concept for human surface operations could reduce risk is advanced by the METERON activities on ISS.

14 As well as the advantages of low latency, a studied in the environment of space radiation key operational aspect is learning to factor in and fractional gravity in a crewed platform. increased crew autonomy. As the opportunities Comparison of radiation biology experiments to communicate with Earth decreases, the crew’s on ISS and the lunar vicinity, as well as ground- ability to make real-time decisions takes on based research, can provide insights leading increased importance. The experience learned to the identification and validation of protective from tele-operations from a gateway around the countermeasures. Science results from studying Moon will improve the science return from similar the combination of radiation, fractional gravity activities on Mars. and altered atmosphere will complement the experience gained from more than 50 years of Living and Working in Space microgravity research in LEO. It will improve our understanding of adaptive responses in The establishment of a gateway in the lunar vicinity is astronaut bone, muscle, cardiovascular, and a potential next step in expanding human presence neural systems as well as which changes in space beyond low-Earth orbit. Such infrastructure in the are reversible upon return to Earth. Furthermore, deep space environment will enable science and the effects on medicines and the nutritional value technology demonstrations that help keep the of certain foods is critical data that will inform astronauts healthy on longer duration missions into future mission planning. In preparation for future the Solar System. New scientific discoveries can exploration missions, it is crucial to understand also be expected. Examples of the science enabled the fundamental effects on human physiology by missions to a include: and performance of prolonged exposure to radiation and the habitat environment aboard • Understanding the Effects of Deep Space deep space transit vehicles and the fractional Radiation, Reduced Gravity and Closed gravity (between 1g and microgravity) of final Habitat Environments: A gateway offers a destinations. Studying these effects in humans unique opportunity to study the harmful effects or model organisms in a of the deep space radiation environment on environment (which cannot be replicated on Earth human physiology, plant physiology, and the or ISS), would improve designs for biomedical microbiome of the spacecraft environment. The and countermeasure equipment, labs, tools, effects of lower total pressure, lower habitats and associated hardware, thus realising concentration, and higher dioxide significant health risk reductions. concentration that might be found in future exploration vehicles and habitats can first be

Japanese Experiment Module Six rodent cages attached to “KIBO” of ISS the microgravity compartment

Centrifuge-equipped biological experiment facility in KIBO

Six rodent cages attached to the centrifuge which produces

Figure 8: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) newly developed mouse habitat cage units that can be installed in the centri- fuge-equipped biological experiment facility in the Japanese Experiment Module (“Kibo”) of ISS. The facility provides both microgravity (g) and artificial gravity environments. Earth’s gravity (1 g), the Moon’s gravity (0.16 g) and Mars’ gravity (0.38 g) on the bottom floor of the cage can be mimicked by the rotating the centrifuge at 77, 31 and 48 rpm, respectively. In the first mission conducted in 2016, 12 mice were launched, divided into two groups of 6 mice each, and housed under g or artificial earth-gravity (1 g). After 35 days of habitation in ISS, all mice were returned to the Earth in a live condition (image courtesy of JAXA).

15 Additional Science Opportunities: • A platform for astronomical observations: The existence of the gateway infrastructure (i.e. A gateway in the lunar vicinity permits certain instrument-hosting with power and communications astronomical observations. capability that also can accommodate greater mass than small satellites) may facilitate high-quality A reusable lander staged at an orbital gateway scientific activities in many disciplines. The following could potentially offer routine access to the lunar examples leverage the infrastructure to obtain surface. Ultimately, utilisation of knowledge through “opportunistic science” activities could provide fuel for such a capability, greatly which otherwise might be too costly or low priority to reducing the associated logistics. Regular crewed implement using standalone automated spacecraft. and robotic missions to the lunar surface would permit exploration of a wide variety of scientifically • Observation post for monitoring Earth’s noteworthy locales. Examples of such lunar surface environment: A gateway in the lunar vicinity science are described in the next chapter. could serve as a scientific outpost to conduct full disk synoptic observations of Earth over a range The growing body of experience in low-Earth orbit of phases. Such observations could provide - particularly on ISS - has led to new scientific information useful for environmental studies. investigations that leverage ISS as a research outpost Studies of Earth can also inform the design of in space. Similarly, when a gateway has been installed instruments for detecting life on exoplanets. in the lunar vicinity, new and previously unanticipated utilisation opportunities may be identified. • Construction and servicing of large telescopes: A gateway’s human crew could construct telescopes that are larger than those that must be launched fully assembled. Additionally, future telescopes could be designed to move between Conclusions their primary orbits and the lunar vicinity using A gateway in the lunar vicinity is a potential next modest amounts of fuel. Such functionality would step in expanding the capabilities for humans allow these telescopes to be moved to EML2 to explore beyond low-Earth orbit, and provides for humans to repair or enhance (e.g. swap out many opportunities for scientific discovery. The instruments), before the telescope returns to its presence of humans in the lunar vicinity will enable ideal observing location. the development of technologies and procedures that reduce risk to human missions deeper into the • Fundamental physics: The gateway would permit Solar System. We can explore the lunar surface, experiments that further our understanding of including regions too difficult to explore with aspects of fundamental physics. Examples include humans, with robots tele-operated from a gateway, the study of galactic cosmic rays and particle yielding significant scientific benefits across multiple physics (from outside the Earth’s ), disciplines. We can learn efficient low-latency human/ tests of , and long baseline robotic operations in a planetary environment with experiments for quantum . relevance to future Mars missions.

• Collecting planetary material: Several missions Understanding the deep space environment’s have collected non-surface planetary material radiation and reduced gravity effects on human for return to Earth for analysis. Experiments physiological systems is essential to keeping humans conducted in a gateway could collect safe and healthy as we venture further into the Solar interplanetary and interstellar dust over long System. The gateway could add the ability to study periods of time by deploying collectors on the the interplay of radiation, microgravity, fractional outside of the habitat. Moreover, addressing the gravity, and isolation. The value of data obtained lunar dust environment with microbalances and under these circumstances to future mission planning optical cameras will be key to understanding cannot be overstated. It is also important to learn near-Moon conditions. how the effectiveness of drugs, and the nutritional value of foods, degrade with time in this deep space • Heliophysics: The lunar region is immersed in a environment. plasma environment whose fields have significant influence on the terrestrial environment. A stable The infrastructure of a gateway in the lunar vicinity platform at in the lunar vicinity affords long- could also be leveraged for a wealth of opportunistic term global viewing of Geospace (radiation science including astronomy, fundamental physics, belts, plasmasphere, equatorial and polar cap interplanetary materials collection, and heliophysics. ), the Sun and in-situ observations of the particles and fields that will advance our understanding of the Sun-Earth system.


The Moon is a cornerstone for Solar System science lost due to continued geologic activity. Moreover, and exploration. Its proximity to Earth, coupled with the Moon’s surface preserves a record of the inner reduced gravity and natural resources make it an Solar System environment (e.g. impactor flux from ideal location to prepare humans and machines for small body migrations, as well as solar and galactic venturing farther into space. It is a natural nearby processes) that nearly coincides with the age of the test bed for reducing risk in sending humans farther Solar System. This accounting of Solar System history into the Solar System. A new era of human lunar gives considerable astrobiological significance to the exploration will be able to make use of global Moon’s geologic past, as it provides clues to early datasets and detailed imagery that conditions on Earth during which life arose and its will reduce risk and maximise the science return continued habitability through time. Furthermore, the associated with sending humans to the lunar surface. Moon preserves the impact record of the early Solar As a repository of Solar System history and as a System and provides insights into the frequency of vantage point from which to observe the Earth and major events over time, such as the environment- the Universe, it also has great potential as a base disrupting asteroid strike that led to the mass for fundamental scientific research that would also extinction of non-avian dinosaurs and many other inform future space exploration. species. No other place in the inner Solar System can provide similar information about the timing and type In addition to scientific benefits, human lunar of impacts during its primordial phases. Comparing exploration will also contribute to the wider impact histories of large asteroids provides clues exploration goal to enhance the prospects for for understanding the material delivery and mixing humans to live and thrive in space while reaping from the outer Solar System to the rocky planets. In associated societal benefits. The Moon’s resources particular, the polar regions of the Moon may have can potentially facilitate sustainable long-duration preserved traces of cometary and meteoritic impact missions, dramatically increasing the science material rich in organic matter and – the returns while reducing costs and demonstrating the building blocks of life. exploration-enhancing nature of in-situ resource utilisation (ISRU) strategies. Specific, top-level science objectives that would be addressed by a programme of human lunar surface The lunar poles are a noteworthy option for initial exploration include the following: exploration activities because they remain unexplored and can yield new scientific insights and samples. • Planetary evolution: The Moon enlightens us Logistically, several locations offer abundant solar about the primary differentiation (i.e. formation (near continuous ) and proximity to water of compositionally distinct layers) of rocky ice and other volatiles that can increase understanding planets. The small size of our Moon, coupled of inner Solar System volatile delivery and perhaps the with knowledge gained from the Apollo program, building blocks for life. In addition, these deposits could shows that much of its interior heat was lost become a significant resource for facilitating human approximately three billion years ago. Thus, missions beyond the Earth-Moon system. a majority of the primary differentiation of the Moon has been preserved. Therefore, our Understanding Our Place in the Universe understanding of how terrestrial planets and A programme of lunar surface exploration will other smaller rocky bodies form and evolve advance our understanding of the wider universe and can be significantly enhanced through detailed our place within it, by advancing scientific knowledge global lunar investigations. This should include in numerous fields. These include planetary geology, sampling of ancient crust/mantle material and geochemistry and geophysics, astrophysics and global geophysical investigations that will define cosmology, astrobiology, life sciences (including the interior structure and composition of the human physiology, psychology, and medicine), Moon and its geologic evolution. materials science, and fundamental physics. • Samples of new rock types: Orbital lunar From a planetary science perspective, the primary missions have identified surface rock types that scientific importance of the Moon lies within its ancient are not part of the existing sample collection. surface, forming the foundation of our understanding Our understanding of the origin and evolution of of how rocky planets formed and evolved. It preserves the Moon will be greatly advanced by collecting a record of the earliest geological evolution that more representative, previously un-sampled lunar complex bodies (e.g. Earth, Venus and Mars) have lithologies. For example, samples of the lunar

17 mantle are not definitively present in current and improve model age-dating of all planetary catalogue but may be found on the far side of surfaces. The absolute cratering record of the the Moon and isolated outcrops associated with Moon, derived from the crater density of the lunar impact basins of the Moon’s near side. Sample surface combined with ages of lunar samples, has return can provide orders of magnitude more been extrapolated to Mars in order to determine science value than in situ analysis, demonstrated the age of its surface. In addition, understanding by Apollo 15 samples that were analysed by new the lunar cratering record is key to understanding techniques in 2008. The new analysis discovered the evolution of the , which also the presence of water (and other volatiles) in the informs us on the early formation of the inner and lunar interior for the first time. outer Solar System planets.

• Volcanic processes: Volcanic products from • Origin of life: How did life originate? The Moon different geologic ages will provide information could help in unlocking this mystery. The record about the evolutionary history of the lunar interior. of Solar System history gives the Moon’s geologic Detailed sampling of such products can be used history considerable astrobiological significance, to understand the preserved initial stages of as it provides clues to conditions on the early evolution. Our understanding Earth under which life became established on of Earth and Mars has broadened to include the our planet and its continued habitability through magma oceans concept that was developed time. Investigation of lunar polar ices could reveal based on samples, demonstrating the inventory of organic that may the application of lunar science to general have been delivered to the Earth-Moon system solar system processes. Investigations of lunar by asteroids/ and were subsequently volcanic processes will provide knowledge trapped and preserved in permanently shadowed on various eruption styles, dates and duration regions, and/or formed and evolved as a result of periods, helping us to better understand the radiolysis in polar ices by galactic cosmic rays. nature of the lunar interior, thermal history, and Such exogenic organic molecules are of great extraterrestrial-volcanism in general. astrobiological interest, and are thought to occur on icy bodies in the outer Solar System and on • Earth-Moon impact flux. The Moon preserves interstellar dust particles. However, the lunar the impact record of the inner Solar System and poles are the closest locations to obtain samples provides insights into the impacts on terrestrial and investigate these astrobiological possibilities. planets that have caused mass extinction events. Sampling materials from areas of different geologic • Volatiles: Delivery of volatiles from external ages will provide important information about the sources is also critical for planetary surface populations of impactors that shaped the inner evolution. Current knowledge indicates that the Solar System, providing the volatile and organic lunar poles may contain a record of the flux and materials needed for the emergence of life. composition of volatiles delivered to the inner Solar System (including Earth). Through in situ • Cratering processes. Detailed in situ study of studies and sample return of ices and icy regolith, structure and morphology over various crater compositional data would enable evaluation of sizes and target materials will define the impact these external sources and delivery mechanisms process and its effects on multiple scales, which for the first time. In situ measurements would can then be applied to distant and inaccessible also facilitate determination of the properties Solar System objects. Large impact craters and and variability of the tenuous lunar atmosphere basins develop extensive impact melt pools, and the migration of lunar volatiles to polar cold some of which contain sub-lunarean caverns traps. Additionally, rock samples from lava flows (as can volcanic lava flows in mare regions). and subsurface caverns may contain information These caverns represent subsurface sampling about volatiles that are endogenic to the Moon. opportunities and also potential habitats for extended human visits. • Solar and galactic evolution: The evolution of the Sun and the is a subject • Absolute age determination: Lunar exploration has primarily restricted to theoretical modelling. the potential to revolutionize our understanding Analysis of the Moon’s surface could contain of the impact cratering rate and record in the “snap shots of ground truth” that confirm data inner Solar System. This can occur through the collected or derived from direct observations and collection, return, and dating of samples from constrain such theoretical models. For example, a wider range of cratered surfaces and impact- ancient lunar lodged between lava generated materials than possible with the flows will preserve historic records of the solar Apollo and Luna missions. This will constrain the and galactic cosmic rays. bombardment history of the inner Solar System, • Astronomical observations: The Moon presents

18 a unique opportunity for powerful new radio cosmos from the Moon offers potential for future astronomical observations. The radio-quiet far scientific serendipity. side of the Moon is the ideal location to conduct radio observations of the early Universe. In • Fundamental physics: The distinctive lunar addition, astronomical instruments on the surface environment, coupled with infrastructure lunar surface would be well-suited to study the of lunar exploration is a possible platform Earth’s magnetosphere and heliosphere, and for fundamental physics activities. These telescopes located on the could include tests of general relativity and could conduct long-duration observations of gravitational physics (via Earth-based lunar laser the Earth as an analogue for studying extrasolar ranging using sensitive, new-generation corner Earth-like planets. Studies of galactic cosmic cube reflectors on the near side lunar surface), rays from the lunar surface are another possible and tests of quantum entanglement over large astronomical application, as their particle flux baselines (e.g. between Earth and the Moon). rate beyond Earth’s magnetosphere increases The Moon offers an advantageous platform for compared to equivalent rates in low-Earth studies of galactic cosmic rays and neutrinos. orbit. For the past several centuries, seminal Neutrino interactions with the lunar regolith might astronomical discoveries have occurred with allow radio Cerenkov studies of non-standard new observing capabilities. These developments neutrino-nucleon interactions or neutrinos from can be unpredictable—however, observing the astrophysical sources.

Figure 9: Among the multitude of science activities that will be enabled by human exploration of the lunar surface, impact cratering offers a breadth of topics. The research will increase understanding of the impact flux in the inner Solar System (including the cadence of extinction events) and the physics of the impact cratering process (which is not possible on Earth due to active geology and ). This image shows an artist impression of the Kaguya/SELENE spacecraft above the cratered Moon. (image courtesy of JAXA)

Living and Working in Space Examples of “applied” scientific and technological Human operations on the lunar surface will significantly benefits of lunar exploration include: contribute to the objective of establishing humanity as a permanently space-faring species. Many of the • Contributing to human health and medical resulting discoveries made, technologies refined, and benefits on Earth: Experiments conducted on the techniques developed will be applied to future efforts ISS have shown that physiological responses to to send humans beyond the Earth-Moon system, microgravity can mimic those associated with a and some may also benefit human society on Earth. range of human conditions—like osteoporosis

19 and, perhaps most significantly, aging. Observing • Identifying potential lunar habitats: Potential human adaptation to prolonged exposure to locations for human habitats include areas of fractional gravity is critical for monitoring health significant scientific interest related to their and safety during lunar missions, and offers origin, evolution and physical properties. Such significant insights into vestibular disorders, aging, areas include surface locations with relatively and disuse pathology. In addition, experiments in high local magnetic field strength, floors of cell and organismal biology within the fractional pits within impact melt flows, and interiors gravity and high-radiation environment of the of subsurface caverns (e.g., lava tubes with lunar surface will provide insights into impacts skylights that can act as entrances). Subsurface of gravity on fundamental biological processes. caverns could provide protection from daily Finally, humans on the Moon enable the study of temperature fluctuations and the extreme space the interplay of radiation, variable gravity, team radiation environment, possibly making them effectiveness and isolation. ideal locations for a permanent base. Such features exist on the Moon and on Mars, and the • Understanding the physiological effects of practicality of utilizing them as habitats could the lunar environment on human health with first be demonstrated on the Moon. applicability to more distant destinations: Studies of human physiology in the reduced gravity, • Learning how to “live off the land”: It is generally high-radiation and dusty environment of the understood that sustainable exploration of the lunar surface will yield the knowledge required to Solar System will be dependent on the use of send crews safely to deep space Solar System local resources. Human lunar surface scientific destinations. Lunar physiological research exploration will enable further evaluation of the would supplement the knowledge accrued by resources on the Moon as potential reserves. The microgravity exposure on the ISS by adding investigations will help determine appropriate data at 1/6th g from which to investigate gravity methods for resource extraction and processing, dose-dependence. Lunar gravity (1/6th Earth) is and maximising their use to enhance human an interim point between microgravity and Mars exploration capabilities while reducing cost. gravity (~1/3rd Earth), providing opportunities to Those activities could synergistically enable better understand the dose-dependence of living access to lunar samples for science, while organisms’ need for gravity. scientific investigations of polar ice deposits will • Understanding how non-human forms of life also reveal their potential as resources. Learning adapt to, or can be protected from, the conditions to use local resources effectively ultimately on extreme planetary surface environments: increases science returns because increased Understanding how low-gravity, high-radiation ISRU activities allow crews to spend additional environments affect plants and microorganisms time conducting scientific activities. is important due to the need for food and/or bio-regenerative life support systems for future • Providing a test bed for human-robotic planetary space exploration. In addition, this aspect of surface exploration: The proximity of the Moon understanding is critical from the perspective of permits an assessment of human-robotic the “human-microbiome” symbiotic relationship partnerships/synergies in a harsh planetary that is essential for maintaining multiple environment, as is discussed in Chapter 3. physiologic functions. Human-robotic partnerships and teleoperations are of particular importance in terrestrial • Testing of Planetary Protection protocols: Lunar applications for mining and resource extraction operations may provide a relevant test-bed for in polar or deep ocean environments and planetary protection research in ways that inform other remote locations. A synergistic approach future Solar System exploration. For example, between robots and humans will be a key-factor understanding the long-term survivability (and in efficiently exploring the Moon, asteroids, and escape) of human-associated bacteria and other Solar System locations. The success of viruses inside and outside structures on the lunar the human-robotic partnership requires sound surface could provide useful information about knowledge for the development and application facility designs for other planetary surfaces. The of the human-machine interface. The Moon Moon also presents an ideal environment for provides the opportunity to advance the science test cleaning and repair protocols for removing underlying the design of ergonomically sound contaminants from instruments and sampling machines to ensure exemplary performance at devices, thereby minimizing the potential for distant destinations. “false-positive” results in experiments aimed at detecting life on other planets.

20 Figure 10: One of the most iconic images taken during the Apollo project was the “” image acquired as the command module emerged from flying over the far side of the Moon. This “replica” image was acquired by the camera on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (image courtesy of NASA/Arizona State University).

21 Conclusion Scientific investigations on the Moon will be vital Humans will also facilitate the placement of delicate preparation for human visits to more distant solar surface instrumentation on planetary surfaces. The system destinations. In addition, the investigations will far side of the Moon is “radio quiet”, offering the improve our understanding of the origin and evolution unique opportunity for sensitive measurements of of the Earth-Moon system and terrestrial planets in the earliest moments of the Universe. general. The Moon has experienced many of the geologic processes that shape the diverse terrestrial Several life sciences questions pursued by human planets in the Solar System: , Venus, Earth, exploration of the lunar surface will inform and and Mars. These phenomena (i.e. impact cratering, facilitate progress beyond the Earth-Moon system. volcanism, and tectonics) can be studied on the lunar Long-duration human exposure to the fractional surface to provide insights on the earliest history of the gravity of the Moon may provide on a range of Solar System including the formation and evolution of health issues such as osteoporosis. It will also guide the terrestrial planets. the protection of astronauts during travel to Mars and extended stays on its surface. Similarly, efficient plant The geological complexity of the Moon necessitates growth in hostile (gravity/radiation) environments is careful selection of samples for return to Earth in order important for sustained human exploration. to address the plethora of scientific questions related To become a truly space-faring-species, humans to the lunar surface. Sample return is a significant must use local resources instead of launching all scientific benefit of human exploration, and lessons support materials from Earth. The Moon is an ideal learned from the Apollo program include the use of location to learn how to “live off the land”, and polar geologically trained explorers for selecting the best ice deposits present opportunities for synergistic samples for analysis. science and exploration investigations.

An example of scientific study that can be advanced by Finally, serendipitous discoveries make human the analysis of new lunar material is the dating of impact surface exploration such an exciting prospect events, which will shed light on the impact flux for the because so much will be learned that cannot be Earth-Moon system over geologic time. This will advance predicted. The Apollo expeditions show numerous scientific knowledge of all planetary bodies as they are examples of unplanned scientific discoveries dated based on the lunar chronologic record, in addition occurring due to the sharp eye of a geologically to various astrobiological ramifications, e.g. trained astronaut. impacts implicated in extinction events on Earth.

image courtesy of NASA


Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) present unique potential As of July 2017, 2092 of the currently known NEAs to enable scientific and human exploration of the Solar (~13%) are classified as accessible by NHATS, System. They can provide lessons for developing offering at least one round-trip mission opportunity human exploration capabilities and advancing between 2015 and 2040 with -V less than 12 the scientific understanding of the formation and km/s and mission duration less than 450 days. All evolution of the Solar System. NEAs are bodies that missions to Mars (flyby, enter/exit orbit, or travel to/ have witnessed events and conditions throughout from the surface) either require more delta-V, longer the history of the Solar System, often retaining duration, or both. information that larger planetary bodies lost during their evolution. NEAs also contain clues to biological history because they have a common pre-solar and early nebular record, but also because asteroid bombardment has been a significant part of planet histories. NEAs essentially are time capsules of the water and organic materials that may have played a key role in the origins of life; and recorders of processes ranging from the production of materials that became parts of the Solar System, processes in the earliest days of the solar nebula, and mechanisms occurring today.

NEAs also may provide crucial resources like water that could enable novel robotic and human exploration strategies in the future, and may have economic potential. Additionally, advancing knowledge of NEAs will enable humankind to better evaluate their potential hazard to Earth and develop mitigation strategies. The goals of planetary defence complement those of scientific investigation and human exploration, allowing simultaneous advancement of all three efforts. Human exploration of NEAs will be enabled by technologies developed during the next decade. Such technologies could eventually be applied to human exploration of the martian moons, which share many characteristics with NEAs. This chapter discusses science enabled by human exploration of asteroids in their native orbits.

Accessible Near-Earth Asteroids Over the past six years, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Human Space Flight Accessible Targets Study (NHATS) significantly increased the body of knowledge about the accessibility of NEAs. NHATS aims to identify all NEAs more astrodynamically accessible than Mars, i.e. round-trip visits requiring less total change-in- (“delta-V”) and/or less mission duration than round-trip visits to Mars. The Figure 11: The nucleus of Churyumov-Gerasimenko was NHATS system automatically monitors NEAs and imaged and investigated closely in recent years due to ESA’s keeps pace with updated orbit information and new mission and the lander, provided by DLR and other discoveries, with data publicly available at European partners. It revealed many new insights into the early formation of our Solar System.( Image courtesy of ESA)

23 To provide an example of known potential NEA • Unique new samples: The world’s meteorite mission opportunities, there are 20 selected NEAs collections are biased because they consist from NHATS data that offer at least one mission entirely of material impacting Earth that was opportunity between the years 2020 and 2030. strong enough to survive the passage through The first 17 NEAs listed require less than 6 km/s Earth’s atmosphere. Impacting Earth involves delta-V. For the 7 km/s delta-V range, a total of 62 exposure to its atmosphere, surface, and NEAs would be included. For reference, a round-trip weathering processes, which can contaminate mission to low lunar orbit requires approximately 5 any samples that remain intact. For example, km/s delta-V, and a round-trip mission to the lunar a meteorite was observed as a fireball in the surface will need about 9 km/s delta-V. area of Canada in early 2000, and samples were collected within days of impact. Some of the science activities described in the rest of These were found to be pristine compared to this chapter require humans to visit particular types other meteorite samples, and chemical analysis (known as taxonomies) of asteroids. Therefore, not revealed the meteorite to be “ultra-primitive” all of the science described here can be achieved with an abundance of organic materials including at all asteroids. The taxonomy of the majority of the amino acids. However, it was also discovered accessible asteroids is unknown. However, future that the Tagish Lake meteorite had considerably survey telescopes will likely find and classify many low density and contained weak material. An more achievable target asteroids. estimated 97% of the meteorite was destroyed during its descent, and samples collected a few Understanding Our Place in the Universe after impact were found to have been Small bodies are exceptionally varied, as evidenced significantly modified by chemical interactions by spectroscopic studies of surfaces and meteorites on Earth’s surface. Acquiring, preserving, derived from asteroids. From ice-rich comets and returning, and analysing material directly from an primitive carbonaceous asteroids to differentiated asteroid would provide new and unique samples asteroids consisting of core, mantle and crust, for scientific studies. In particular, samples from investigation of these diverse classes of objects primitive, carbon-bearing bodies could provide through missions designed and equipped to exploit diversity not represented in current meteorite their unique properties will reveal the range of collected samples, and include weak materials materials and processes of the early Solar System. such as direct regolith samples. Additionally, the study of small bodies offers insights into the dynamical evolution of the Solar System, • History of solar activity. The ability to sample the and physical and chemical processes that have subsurface of Solar System objects in multiple continued through present day. Specific, top-level locations will permit the study of solar evolution. science objectives that would be addressed by Asteroidal regolith is a complex mixture of human missions to asteroids include the following: materials that are: indigenous to the asteroid; blended from impacts, and; formed by interaction • Understand asteroid surface processes: While with the , micrometeorites and the are typically constrained space environment. The upper few metres of an to resolution-limited mapping and single-site asteroid’s regolith hold clues to these processes, sampling, human explorers can document the full and might shed light on the evolution of the Sun. range of materials on asteroids including exogenic Deep drill cores up to three metres in length could substances delivered by impacts. Asteroids that provide a record of surface-space interactions are considered the most primitive are thought to over millions of years. Although no comparable have remained primarily unchanged since their drilling of an asteroid has been attempted, this formation more than 4.5 billion years ago, but could be more feasible during a human mission. even these objects have been subject to potential modification by heating and/or interaction with • Increase the value of current asteroid samples: water, and alteration of near surfaces by space In addition to asteroid samples returned weathering. How these processes occur on by Hayabusa (from asteroid Itokawa) and a single asteroid is poorly known, as are the samples to be returned by the Origins, Spectral details of their resulting materials. In many cases, Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, meteorite groups once regarded as disparate may Regolith Explorer {OSIRIS-Rex} (Bennu) and be found to be closely related - perhaps even Hayabusa 2 (Ryugu), the world’s meteorite originating from the same asteroid. The ability collections contain tens of thousands of to collect larger, macroscopic representative samples that span a wide range of materials samples, acquired with geologic context, will and processes. In the case of meteorites, further understanding of the nature of these these samples are without geologic context. processes in the early history of the Solar System. For example, based on their composition we

24 can determine that some meteorites originated geologic context for samples through deliberate from the Moon, but an exact location of where evaluation, selection, and collection, will enable on the Moon they were ejected remains unclear. scientific analyses not currently possible. Human exploration of selected asteroids can provide the ground truth that allows us to place • Organic compounds and the origins of life: meteorites in the context of their parent asteroids NEAs can help unlock the age-old mystery through reflectance spectroscopy and remote of how life took shape on this world. Primitive observations of chemistry and mineralogy, NEAs represent the building blocks of the Solar thus vastly increasing the scientific value of the System’s terrestrial planets, and serve as time current meteorite collections. capsules for the early materials that contributed to Earth’s formation. Determining the inventory • Provide an archive of samples with geologic of organic materials in these NEAs will provide context for analysis on Earth: Carefully key insights into the availability of such materials documented samples returned by human during the emergence of life on Earth. Many exploration of asteroids will provide a permanent organic compounds are volatile and easily archive of materials for future scientists. Decades destroyed by higher temperatures or contact after Apollo, new analytical techniques revealed with water. Contamination from terrestrial the importance of water in the evolution of the organic compounds can also occur rapidly and Moon. Similarly, robust asteroid samples are diminish the science potential of samples. Thus, essential for labour-intensive, high-precision while meteorites provide numerous samples analyses of properties ranging from the from asteroids, their study cannot fully address abundance of solar wind implanted gases to the this question due to damage and contamination Solar System age of formation. Unlike the current caused by Earth’s atmosphere and surface. The robotically-secured samples, samples of known ability to carefully select and collect samples spatial relationships and orientation will enable directly from primitive carbon-bearing asteroids, new types of measurements (e.g., paleomagnetic and preserve robust samples by protecting strength and orientation). Leveraging human them from contamination, would enable critical cognitive abilities to obtain well-documented scientific advancements.

Figure 12: Asteroids are remnants of the early history of our Solar System and provide many scientific clues to its formation. The above images show different asteroids that were imaged by space probes in recent years. (Image courtesy of ESA)

25 Living and Working in Space larger asteroids or piles of weakly consolidated The human exploration of NEAs presents a unique rubble formed by catastrophic fragmentation opportunity to study the space environment and of earlier generations of asteroids. Deciphering utilise the resources of a diverse range of materials, this macrostructure for individual asteroids is an some of which are inaccessible on either the Earth elusive but essential part of understanding their or Moon. These materials may provide resources threat to Earth and developing corresponding that can be used to explore other asteroids as well mitigation techniques. A human exploration as exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and into the mission could utilise a method that probes the Solar System. Examples of the benefits of a human deep interior of an asteroid and provides insights mission to an NEA include: about its structure. The choice of technical approach to alleviating a potentially hazardous • Long-term instrument deployment to study the impact may depend on whether the asteroid is asteroid and space environment: A key advantage solid, fractured, or a loosely consolidated rubble of the human exploration of asteroids is the ability pile. to attach critical, delicate instruments to an unknown and unseen surface. These instruments • Learning how to extract resources to enable can enable key investigations like seismology of sustainable scientific exploration: Water is the asteroid interior that requires careful coupling perhaps the most straightforward and attractive and long-term monitoring for small impacts. target resource for exploration, with its ability Likewise, long-term instrumentation may prove to provide feedstock for breathable air, drinking essential to understanding the interaction supply, and propulsion. Additionally, between the surface and the space environment, water is an interesting subject for scientific study. including dust created by human exploration. However, the majority of water found in asteroids Understanding the duration and extent of a is most likely in the form of hydrated silicates, tenuous dust envelope, as well as the plasma with some asteroids containing 10 to 20 percent environment created by interaction between the bound water. As a result, water extraction will be asteroid and the solar wind, will enable planning a complex process that is ideally suited to human for longer-term exploration. explorers. The ability to extract this resource will yield science through its examination and by • Testing of planetary protection protocols: NEA enabling sustainable human exploration. operations may provide a relevant test-bed for martian exploration. Interplanetary contamination • Learning how to operate safely near the surface occurs in two directions: “forward” is the of a low-gravity object: The low gravity of an NEA transfer of contaminants from Earth to another is a challenging environment in which to navigate, Solar System body, while “back” contaminants with highly irregular gravity fields and comparable bring extraterrestrial compounds and life to non-gravitational forces such as radiation Earth. For example, long-term survivability of pressure. Missions like Hayabusa, Hayabusa 2, terrestrial forward contaminants (i.e. spacecraft- OSIRIS-REx, and Rosetta have taken cautious transported or human-associated bacteria and and lengthy approaches to addressing the viruses) detected in the asteroid environment complexity of close encounters with the surfaces can serve as an indicator of survival durations of such small Solar System bodies. The presence elsewhere (e.g. Mars). An NEA also presents an of humans will enable effective investigation of ideal environment to test cleaning protocols for any complications and rapid decision-making in removing potential “false-positive” results from an environment that is not yet fully characterised. experiments or instruments designed to detect Developing such capabilities and experience will life on other Solar System bodies. Indeed, NEA have direct application to potential future human missions may offer opportunities to address exploration of the martian moons. key research and technology development knowledge gaps identified as important for • Optimising the Human-Robotic Partnership. planetary protection and human missions. Human crews will be critical to the success of a mission to an asteroid. Performance of mission • Understanding asteroid structure as a key to operations must be impeccable given that little planetary defence: Large asteroids visited by is known of the constraints and challenges of spacecraft appear to have remained primarily the harsh asteroid environment, including details intact since their formation during the dawn of the landing and working terrain. To mitigate of the Solar System, although their surfaces mission risk, humans offer flexibility, creativity, have been modified by impacts. In contrast, , and adaptability as well as finesse smaller asteroids are considered fragments of and dexterity beyond that of current robots. To

26 fully leverage the potential of human explorers, to maximise the effectiveness of the human- it is essential to: develop interfaces that reduce machine system. The optimization of the human- the need for human learning and adaptation robotic partnership will also benefit the future related to the machine, and; design the machine .

Figure 13: Astronauts visiting an asteroid would be able to handle delicate scientific instrumentation that could provide information on the internal structure of asteroids. This is of scientific interest, and it can also help with planetary defence.

Conclusion unique information on the ancient history of the Sun. Missions to asteroids would represent a new As with the lunar surface, the ability of a trained challenge for human endeavours in space, permitting explorer to select the best samples to return to Earth the type of surface exploration not feasible with is a key component to maximising the science yield orbiting spacecraft. The NEA population exhibits of these missions. considerable diversity, providing a wide range of opportunities for scientific exploration. Additionally, Studies made possible by the presence of humans NEAs have witnessed events and conditions include obtaining key information for planetary throughout the history of the Solar System, often defence. Better understanding of the internal retaining information that larger, evolved planetary structure of asteroids, provided by in situ geophysical bodies have lost. exploration, will be key to developing the mitigation strategies for an Earth-bound asteroid. Returning carefully selected samples of materials from Solar System bodies can enable key new The accessibility of NEAs will enable extraction and scientific investigations. Meteorites provide asteroid analysis of volatiles, with some asteroids thought to samples that are biased toward materials strong contain 10 to 20 percent bound water. In addition enough to survive the journey to Earth’s surface while to their compelling scientific possibilities, efficiently subject to contamination from Earth’s atmosphere extracted volatiles represent a resource that could and processes. A sample collected directly from enable sustainable scientific exploration. an asteroid would not undergo this scenario, which would enable critical new studies such as determining Developing the important capabilities needed to the content of organic materials and evaluating their enable future human exploration of low-gravity bodies role in the origins of life on Earth. Additionally, careful involves learning how to operate safely on and near sample collection that is enabled by humans can their surfaces, obtaining samples, characterising lead to a better understanding of the thousands of surface properties, and studying geologic history. In meteorites already available for study by scientists, particular, experience gained from the exploration providing geologic context to these meteorites that of NEAs would have applications to potential future have formed much of the paradigm for the evolution human exploration of the martian moons. of the Solar System. Finally, serendipitous discoveries may also occur The presence of humans will permit the handling of as a result of human exploration, as the Apollo complex instruments to be attached to the surface experience demonstrated. Since human beings have of an asteroid, as well as the ability to sample below never set foot on the surface of an NEA, the potential its surface. These subsurface samples could provide for unanticipated discoveries is substantial.

27 Image courtesy: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin


Human missions to Mars present an unprecedented destinations of scientific interest in their own right. opportunity to investigate the closest and most Eventually, human missions to the surface of Mars Earth-like planetary neighbour. Mars has undergone would provide substantial capabilities to explore geologic evolution not unlike that of early Earth, the surface. We expect that crews would be able to with fundamental differences (such as the lack of traverse to sites up to 100 km away from the original plate tectonic recycling) that have resulted in the landing site using robust rovers. A habitat outfitted preservation of ancient (> 3.5-billion--old) rocks, with state-of-the-art laboratory facilities could enable offering the best record in the Solar System of the astronauts to perform cutting-edge science on the first billion years of Earth-like planetary evolution. surface of Mars. A human-robotic partnership during The ancient terrains of Mars have recorded evidence exploration would further enhance the science return of widespread interaction between neutral water of these missions. and crustal rocks, at the time that life first appeared on Earth. A dramatic transition occurred on Mars The scientific themes described in Chapter 2 were approximately 3.8 billion years ago, involving a framed to address a wide breadth of scientific change to acidic , a reduction in geologic disciplines and destinations, many of those themes activity, suspension of the magnetic field, and naturally also apply to the scientific exploration of depletion of the atmosphere - although glacial, wind- Mars. Mars significantly differs from other destinations driven, and volcanic processes continue. given its sheer size, dynamic environment, and potential for past or extant life. Finding evidence Human missions to Mars could develop step-wise of life, past or present, would be an extraordinary from a staging post in the Mars vicinity, from which discovery and would allow us to study the only other teleoperation of robotic assets on the surface will example of known life. The primary goal of this white provide significant operational efficiencies. Such a paper, though, is to detail science enabled by near- staging post might take the form of a base on the term human exploration. Mars moons Phobos and Deimos, which are also two

Figure 14: The Rover needed five years to make its 14-km journey to Mt. Sharp on Mars. In its 13 years of operation, the Oppor- tunity Rover has covered 43 km of martian terrain. Conversely, the crew of Apollo 17 traversed nearly 32 km across the lunar surface in just three days. (Image courtesy of NASA)

29 image courtesy of NASA


The previous chapters describe the breadth of Moon can advance science questions regarding scientific opportunities made available by the volatile delivery to the inner Solar System as well as presence of humans and associated infrastructure the delivery of key building blocks required for life. at destinations highlighted in the Global Exploration Roadmap. As an ongoing process that reflects Concerning human missions to an NEA, the science the continuing maturity of planning, ISECG has addressed will hinge upon the asteroid that is developed Design Reference Missions (DRMs) that selected. The scientific community has clearly represent notional missions to the GER destinations formulated its interest in visiting different asteroids and respond to the goals, objectives, and strategic in their native orbits to maximise the scientific return. considerations of participating agencies. The purpose of the DRMs is to represent a realistic scale Mars is unparalleled as a horizon goal for human for missions to these locations rather than describe exploration and scientific value, but the actual path the plans of agencies. As such, they are useful as a to the red planet is still being developed. In order to framework for required engineering solutions as well achieve this goal, more in-depth study utilizing our as a guide to understanding the amount and type current capabilities is required. of science that could be achieved by that class of exploration. Looking forward, it should be understood that future activities will most likely address a subset of the The current Global Exploration Roadmap DRM scientific opportunities described in this paper, and scenario envisions lunar vicinity infrastructure as the that this subset will reflect specific mission scope deep space gateway visited by crews in a cadence and associated capabilities. The implementation of approximately one mission per year. Initially, the of actual missions will be a focus of international gateway would not be permanently occupied, and partnership and cooperation with new partners, long-duration astronaut health investigations will similar to the very successful ISS partnership. In be limited to the stay time at the gateway. As the parallel, participating agencies will choose scientific scenario matures, the scope of the gateway will be priorities and instrumentation to ensure that the defined further, within which potential for specific endeavour of human space exploration continues to instrumentation and a detailed assessment of deliver outstanding science for the benefit of citizens scientific opportunities can be addressed. Similarly, on Earth. the eventual location of the gateway will determine its suitability for specific scientific investigations. While many parameters currently remain open, it is expected that the scientific activities on board would make use of the ability to conduct long-duration experiments on the gateway. This will be combined with the advantages associated with periodic crew presence, allowing for scientific benefits over a wide range of fields (e.g. radiation experiments and dust/ grain collectors). In addition, significant exploration of the lunar surface by telepresence of surface robotics is feasible with this mission scale, and will depend on gateway capabilities for teleoperation of robots and receiving samples from the lunar surface.

Mobility is a key factor in the science that is achieved during lunar surface exploration. The Global Exploration Roadmap DRM involves a crew living in a pressurized rover, which would essentially serve as a mobile habitat. From a scientific perspective, this architecture is particularly enabling for science, with future implications for human exploration of the . Such missions will facilitate regional investigations (e.g. the - Aitken Basin) and young lava flows rather than global exploration. The study of polar ice deposits on the image courtesy of NASA


No. Document Title Year Agency link 1 Moon: The 8th Continent: Final Report of ESA’s Human 2003 ESA Spaceflight Vision Group 2 Report of the Commission on the Scientific Case 2005 for Human Space Exploration (Royal Astronomical Society, UK) 3 The Global Exploration Strategy 2007 ISECG participating agencies 4 The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: 2007 NASA Final Report (National Academy of Sciences, USA) 5 NASA Advisory Council Workshop on Science Associated with 2007 NASA the Lunar Exploration Architecture 6 Science-Driven Scenario for Space Exploration 2008 ESA (European Science Foundation) 7 New Worlds, new Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics 2010 NASA (National Academy of Sciences, USA) 8 Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science 2011 NASA in the Decade 2013-2022 (National Academy of Sciences, USA) 9 THESEUS – Towards Human Exploration of Space: A European 2012 Strategy Roadmap (EU project, European Science Foundation) 10 Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society 2013 NASA (National Academy of Sciences, USA) 11 Science and Challenges of Lunar Sample Return – Workshop 2014 ESA Outcomes and Recommendations 12 Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches 2014 NASA for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration (National Academy of Sciences, USA) 13 ESA Space Exploration Strategy 2015 ESA, ASI, CNES, DLR, UKSA 14 Canadian Space Exploration: Science and Space Health 2017 CSA Priorities for Next Decade and Beyond


The production of this science white paper was supported by a science advisory group (SAG) that consisted of an international cadre of scientists with a breadth of expertise. A list of the SAG members is shown below.

Co-chairs: 1. Ben Bussey (NASA, USA) 2. Jean-Claude Worms (ESF, France)

Members 3. Gilles Clement (University of Lyon, France) 4. Ian Crawford (University of London, UK) 5. Mike Cruise (University of Birmingham, UK) 6. Masaki Fujimoto (JAXA, Japan) 7. Dave Hart (University of Calgary, Canada) 8. Ralf Jaumann (DLR, Germany) 9. Tim McCoy (Smithsonian Institute, USA) 10. Clive Neal (University of Notre Dame, USA) 11. Gordon Osinski (University of Western Ontario, Canada) 12. Maria Cristina De Sanctis (INAF, Italy) 13. Masaki Shirakawa (JAXA, Japan)

34 35 ISECG members:


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Copyright © 2017 Cover image: NASA image modified by ESA