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The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon
ing on analyses of cost and technical factors, and investigations for which current knowledge and forecasted capabilities lend little support for lunar implementation. It is essential that NASA adopt the very strongest science program possible for the Moon right from the outset because advocated weak science would be questioned and could jeopardize the entire lunar program.
While premised on a framework of essentially flat science budgets in the near term, the study may consider also the possibility of expanded budgets for lunar science in the post-2010 time frame, after shuttle retirement.
Because lunar exploration within the Vision for Space Exploration is envisioned as a broadly international undertaking, the study should attempt to factor in interests and perspectives of foreign investigators and/or agency officials by inclusion of some of these as panel members and/or as briefers, as appropriate.
DELIVERABLES AND SCHEDULE
It is anticipated that development of the study products will be undertaken via a two phase process consisting of (1) an initial review and integration of goals and priorities in existing NRC and other documentation and (2) a science community outreach program to validate, update, and extend the findings of this review to support planning for potential follow-on LPRP missions and astronaut missions during the sortie phase of human lunar exploration.
The final report of the study should contain the following primary elements:
A brief summary of the current status and key issues of scientific knowledge concerning the origin and evolution of the Moon and related issues in solar system evolution;
Basic science goals and priorities for research within scope of the study task that are contained in NRC decadal surveys relevant to lunar exploration, as expanded and extended.
Insofar as is possible, the final report should also contain:
A summary of the scientific measurements and LPRP activities necessary to support the safe return of humans to the Moon, to the extent that relevant requirements are provided to the NRC by ESMD; and
A high-level survey of possible future activities and infrastructure that could address science objectives lying outside the current study scope but deserving of feasibility and cost/benefit evaluation for potential implementation during a long-term human presence on the Moon.
An interim description of basic science goals and priorities (items 2 and 3 above) should be released for community discussion and preliminary NASA planning use, if possible by August 31, 2006. Delivery at this time would enable its use by NASA to inform finalization of the fiscal year 2008 budget proposal, and to support an exploration strategy drafting meeting being planned by ESMD for mid-September 2006 and a NASA Advisory Council Science Committee workshop planned for later in 2006.
A prepublication version of the final report should be delivered by May 31, 2007, in order to be of maximum value during formulation of the fiscal year 2009 budget proposal.
The present task may not extend beyond July 14, 2007. Delivery of the edited final report will be negotiated once the study is in progress and may be supported by a task issued under the follow-on contract.