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The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon
CHEX found that human exploration offers a unique opportunity for science accomplishment and as such should be viewed as part and parcel of an integrated human exploration-science program. That committee developed three broad management principles, which, if implemented, would improve the probability of a successful synergy between science and human exploration:
Integrated Science Program—The scientific study of specific planetary bodies, such as the Moon and Mars, should be treated as an integral part of an overall solar system science program and not separated out simply because there may be concurrent interest in human exploration of those bodies. Thus, there should be a single NASA headquarters office responsible for conducting the scientific aspects of solar system exploration.
Clear Program Goals and Priorities—A program of human spaceflight will have political, engineering, and technological goals in addition to its scientific goals. To avoid confusion and misunderstandings, the objectives of each individual component project or mission that integrates space science and human spaceflight should be clearly specified and prioritized.2
Joint Spaceflight/Science Program Office—The offices responsible for human spaceflight and space science should jointly establish and staff a program office to collaboratively implement the scientific component of human exploration. As a model, that office should have responsibilities, functions, and reporting relationships similar to those that supported science in the Apollo, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) missions.
Consistent with the principles enunciated above, CHEX found a definitive correlation between successful science accomplishment and organizational roles and responsibilities. In particular, the quality of science was enhanced when the science office (NASA’s Science Mission Directorate [SMD] now) controlled the process of establishing science priorities, competitively selecting the science and participating scientists and ensuring proper attention to the end-to-end cycle ending in data analysis and the publication of results. This process extends to the selection of science contributions by international partners; competitive merit should prevail.
Finding 1R: The successful integration of science into programs of human exploration has historically been a challenge. It remains so for the VSE. Prior Space Studies Board reports by the Committee on Human Exploration (CHEX) examined how the different management approaches led to different degrees of success. CHEX developed principles for optimizing the integration of science into human exploration and recommended implementation of these principles in future programs.3 This committee adopts in Recommendation 1R the CHEX findings in a form appropriate for the early phase of VSE.
Recommendation 1R: NASA should increase the potential to successfully accomplish science in the VSE by (1) developing an integrated human/robotic science strategy,4 (2) clearly stating where science fits in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate’s (ESMD’s) goals and priorities, and (3) establishing a science office embedded in the ESMD to plan and implement science in the VSE. Following the Apollo model, such an office should report jointly to the Science Mission Directorate and the ESMD, with the science office controlling the proven end-to-end science process.
Concept 2R: Developing Lunar Mission Plans and Operations
Apollo experience demonstrated both the complexity of planning lunar surface and orbital operations and the benefits of so doing. The challenge today is, if anything, greater, in that the more than 30 year hiatus since Apollo has seen a remarkable evolution of planetary exploration strategy and capability. One cannot start too
See especially pp. 2-3 in the section “The Role of Science” in the 1993 report Scientific Prerequisites for the Human Exploration of Space; pp. 6-7 in the 1994 report Scientific Opportunities in the Human Exploration of Space; and pp. 17-29 in Chapter 3, “Science Enabled by Human Exploration,” in the 1994 report.
See p. 128 of the third report in a series by the Committee on Human Exploration: National Research Council, Science Management in theHuman Exploration of Space, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1997.
This CHEX Recommendation 1 refers to the development of science goals, strategy, priorities, and process methodology; CHEX Recommendation 3 and this committee’s Recommendation 1R refers strictly to the implementation of science in a program of human exploration.