Find free lists

Lunar Exploration Objectives


NASAs comprehensive database of almost 200 different things we could do on the moon! Each lunar exploration objective can help achieve the broad goals defined by at least one of the lunar exploration themes.



The Activity: Perform radio astronomy to map the cosmic web and observe other astronomical objects.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA1
Summary: Radio interferometry antenna arrays, as well as single-dish antennae, located on the far-side of the Moon could provide data on exotic phenomena in the universe: pulsars, black holes, planetary radio emissions, and the remnants of the big bang.
Value: Radio astronomy is enabled by being on the far side of the Moon. Low frequencies can not be observed from the Earth because they are absorbed by the atmoshere. High frequencies can not be observed from the Earth because the radio environment on Earth is too noisy. The far side of the Moon, lacking an atmosphere and shielded from the Earth's radio noise, is ideal.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Perform interferometry on the lunar surface to observe the universe at UV, optical, and infrared wavelengths.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA2
Summary: Perform interferometry on lunar surface to observe the universe at UV, optical and infrared wavelengths, including observations of extra-solar planets.
Value: Interferometry on the Moon is enabled because the Moon is a dark site without an atmosphere. Locating a telescope in the bottom of a crater could have additional advantages for IR observations because of the cold temperature there. However, the Moon offers a harsher environment for interferometry in the UV, optical, and NIR than does deep space. Large thermal variations, mechanical distortions due to lunar gravity, dust, and seismic noise are all absent in deep space.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Detect gravitational waves to observe a variety of astrophysical and cosmological phenomena that are unobservable in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA3
Summary: Gravitational waves are created from merging supermassive black holes and binary compact objects. Gravitational waves are expected to be detected by ground and space-based systems in the next decade. The Moon offers another stable platform on which to place detection instruments.
Value: The Moon affords a stable base for the widely spaced detectors required to detect gravitational waves. However, the longest feasible baselines for gravitational wave interferometry on the Moon would be about 100 km (e.g. on the rim of the Newton Crater), only one order of magnitude longer than those currently existing on Earth. Although lunar seismic noise could be nullified with existing technology, the thermal requirements (the factor that would ultimately limit performance) on a lunar gravitational wave interferometer would be severe, worse than on Earth or deep space.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Detect and monitor exoplanets to gain perspective on the uniqueness of the Earth and our solar system.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA4
Summary: Monitor nearby stars over time to detect transit by planets.
Value: Understanding extrasolar planetary systems is critical for gaining perspective on the uniqueness of our own solar system and the Earth within it. Photometric accuracy of instruments on the Moon would be better than could be obtained from Earth because of the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere. There may be no improvement over space-based telescopes in this regard.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Perform long-duration measurements of energetic particles at the Moon's surface to gain understanding of nucleosynthesis processes in supernovae and other stellar sites.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA5
Summary: Perform long duration measurements of energetic phenomena such as cosmic rays and solar energetic particles. Cosmic rays could be measured by large arrays of high-energy cosmic ray detectors placed on the lunar surface. Studying the lunar regolith could provide information on solar energetic particles.
Value: Because the Moon is outside the Earth's magnetosphere and lacks an atmosphere, energetic solar particles and cosmic rays of all energies and types reach the lunar surface without attenuation or degradation. Installing large detector arrays would enable searches for very rare cosmic rays, such as the ultra-heavy cosmic rays (those in the iron-group to the trans-uranic group). Such searches would inform us of the nucleosynthetic processes that occur in supernovae and other stellar sites.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Search for exotic states of nuclear matter to understand the composition of the universe.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA6
Summary: Theordtically predicted to be the stablest form of matter, but never observed, is Strange Quark Matter. Such matter might exist in the form of "nuggets," produced primordially or from neutron stars. These would have large nuclear densities and be capable of passing through the Moon, leaving behind a linear seismic signature. A network of seismometers evenly spaced on the Moon could identify a Strange Quark Nugget event.
Value: Strange Quark Matter is theoretically the stablest form of nuclear matter, and may exist in the interior of neutron stars. It might have also been produced during the Big Bang, but it has never been directly detected. The relatively low seismic noise on the Moon may make it an attractive location to search for Strange Quark Nuggets that leave a linear seismic signature. Seeing this signature on the Moon would constitute a discovery of profound importance to nuclear physics and astrophysics.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Make precise measurements of the Moon's position to test Einstein's theory of general relativity.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA7
Summary: Placing lunar laser transponders at a number of sites on the near side of the Moon would allow the relative motion of the Moon with respect to the Earth to be measured to the millimeter level of accuracy. Laser pulses sent from the Earth to the Moon would trigger coherent return pulses from the lunar laser stations. The responding pulses would be received and timed at Earth tracking stations providing unparalleled orbital positional accuracy. The Apollo retroreflectors have been used for this purpose, but these yield a very small signal that limits accuracy.
Value: Laser ranging measurements of the Moon’s position have given us some of our most accurate tests of Einstein’s theory of gravity (which has so far passed all its tests). Placing laser transponders on the Moon would significantly enhance the power of these tests.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Detect and monitor Near Earth Objects (NEO) to discover threats to the Earth and Moon.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA8
Summary: Conduct sky surveys from the lunar surface to detect NEOs, determine their orbits, assess their physical characteristics, and evaluate the potential hazard to Earth and the Moon.
Value: The long lunar night and the absence of atmosphere make the Moon an attractive location for discovering NEOs that might otherwise go undetected from Earth or Low Earth Orbit. Earth's impact crater history and the ever increasing catalog of newly discovered NEOs demonstrate the importance of NEO research for global protection.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes
Economic EYespansion: Yes
Global Partnerships: Yes

The Activity: Evaluate the Moon's potential as an observation platform to maximize investments in astronomy and astrophysics.
Category: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Objective ID Number: mA9
Summary: Carry out a site survey of the Moon and characterize aspects of the lunar environment to determine the best locations for various telescopes. Consider dust contamination, seismic environment, thermal environment, radio environment, and other variables. Emplace a small telescope in a representative location before investing in a larger, more expensive telescope.
Value: A lunar telescope will be very expensive. Studying the lunar environment will bring better understanding of the observations that can be most effeciently conducted from the Moon, as well as which sites are best suited to different telscopes. This information will inform the telescope selection and siting and help to optimize the scientific return.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Image the interaction of the Sun's heliosphere with the interstellar medium to enable identification and comparison of other heliospheres.
Category: Heliophysics
Objective ID Number: mHEO1
Summary: Image the heliospheric boundaries in the extreme ultraviolet and soft x-ray wavelenths. Investigate the interactions of the stellar nebula (the heliosphere), in its various stages of formation and evolution, with its local interstellar medium.
Value: Determining the interaction properties of our own heliosphere with the local interstellar medium will enable us to identify and compare other heliospheres.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Perform low-frequency radio astronomy observations of the Sun to improve our understanding of space weather.
Category: Heliophysics
Objective ID Number: mHEO2
Summary: Perform low-frequency radio astronomy observations of the Sun. Observe transient solar Type II sources to enable identification and tracking of Earth-directed shocks associated with solar particle events and enable measurement of solar wind properties throughout the heliosphere.
Value: Earth-directed shocks associated with particle events are potentially hazardous to astronauts and orbiting assets. Detecting and tracking these events would provide some advanced warning so that humans and equipment could be protected as best possible. In addition, because these observations could probe space from a few solar radii out to 1 AU, the observations would allow greatly improved space weather forecasting, improved understanding of shock formation and evolution, and detailed mapping of the interplanetary electron density and magnetic field topology. Imaging observations have never been achieved at frequencies below 10MHz because of the Earth's ionospheric effects.
EYesploration Preparation: Yes
Scientific Knowledge: Yes
Human Civilization: Yes

The Activity: Study the dymanics of the magnetotail as it crosses the Moon's orbit to learn about the development and transport of plasmoids.
Category: Heliophysics
Objective ID Number: mHEO3
Summary: Place detectors on the Moon or on satellites orbiting the Moon to provide regular measurements of the Earth's magnetotail, which crosses the lunar orbit for approximately five days of every month. Arrays of detectors could be used to study the small scale shape, structure and dynamics of plasmoids, as well as other tail regions and boundaries. Active release experiments, observed from the Moon, could also be used to measure plasmoid transport.
Value: The Moon is an ideal location for studying the development and transport of plasmoids, which travel down the Earth's magnetotail after substorm onset. Substorms are the basic process by which energy is stored and released in the magnetotail.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Study the impact of the Moon on the surrounding plasma environment and incident solar wind to better understand the magnetotail.
Category: Heliophysics
Objective ID Number: mHEO4
Summary: The Moon perturbs the surrounding plasma environment. As an absorber, the Moon shadows solar electrons, and the resulting position of the shadow can be used to determine the convection electric field. In addition, lunar pick-up ions that have been detected in the magnetotail can be used as a unique tracer to track transport in the magnetotail.
Value: Measuring the convection electric field, and using ions as tracers, are both important aspects of understanding ion transport in the magnetotail.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Analyze the composition of the solar wind to improve our understanding of the composition and processes of the Sun.
Category: Heliophysics
Objective ID Number: mHEO5
Summary: The solar wind reflects the composition of the Sun and physcial processes in the corona.
Value: Analysis of the composition of the solar wind will give new information on how the solar system was formed and on the coronal processes.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes

The Activity: Image the interaction of the ionosphere and magnetosphere to understand space weather in the regions of space where most commercial and military space operations occur.
Category: Heliophysics
Objective ID Number: mHEO6
Summary: Photon and particle imaging of the global ionosphere, thermosphere, mesosphere, and magnetosphere can be accomplished with instrumentation located either on the lunar surface, in lunar orbit, or in other orbital locations via trans-lunar assets.
Value: Global observations of ionospheric, thermospheric, mesospheric, and magnetospheric phenomena provide measurements that are key to understanding space weather in the regions of space where most commercial and military and space operations occur. These measurements will also provide constraints to global ionospheric models and provide keys to solving compelling questions associated with the coupling between these two regions and coupling of the high and mid-equatorial regions of the ionosphere.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes
Economic EYespansion: Yes

The Activity: Perform high-energy and optical observations of the Sun to improve our understanding of the physical processes of the Sun.
Category: Heliophysics
Objective ID Number: mHEO7
Summary: Perform high-frequency (X-ray and gamma ray) and optical observations of the Sun. Uninterrupted observations can be extended to up to a half lunar day, or 14 Earth days (the duration of the East-West passage of an active region of the Sun).
Value: The high-quality observations made possible by large lunar-based high-energy and optical solar observations telescopes will greatly improve our understanding of the physical processes responsible for particle physics in the Sun and in other astrophysical sources. Optical and infra-red magnetographs at the very high spatial resolutions made possible will also allow us to identify the conditions preceding solar eruptive events that are potentially hazardous to astronauts and equipment on the Moon on interplanetary flights, and to power transmission and communications on the Earth. The Moon provides an exceptionally large platform on which to position instruments that can be used to provide uninterrupted observations of the Sun over extended periods of time. The gradual rotation rate of the Moon also allows horizon occultation measurements (at a drift rate of ~0.5 arc seconds/second) to be made.
EYesploration Preparation: Yes
Scientific Knowledge: Yes
Human Civilization: Yes

The Activity: Analyze the Sun's role in climate change to gain a better overall understanding of climate.
Category: Heliophysics
Objective ID Number: mHEO8
Summary: Collect simultaneous observations of the earthshine (photometry and spectra), particle flux, and solar irradiance covering the electromagnetic and charged particle spectrum. The earthshine gives an instantaneous measure of the Earth's reflectance, and over a month, the total reflectance (Bond albedo) of Earth can be measured. The irradiance plus Bond albedo gives the net sunlight reaching Earth, and sun-directed hardware gives a broad spectrum of near-Earth measurements of solar activity.
Value: It is generally acknowledged that the 0.1% variation in irradiance over a solar cycle is too small to be climatologically significant, but there are terrestrial signatures of the cycle, as well as signs of apparent longer-term wanderings of solar output. The simple measurements of the solar output and Earth’s reflectance from the unique lunar perch give an excellent opportunity to determine what solar signal is being amplified near the Earth. Such knowledge will advance our understanding of the dynamics of the Sun and the Earth’s response. Such knowledge is essential to predicting future climate change.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes
Economic EYespansion: Yes

The Activity: Use the Moon as a remote sensing platform for monitoring the Earth's magnetosphere, to develop predictive and mitigation capabilities for magnetosphere-driven events.
Category: Earth Observation
Objective ID Number: mEO1
Summary: Observe electromagnetic behavior due to solar activity, and understand any resulting damaging behavior. Gain understanding of magnetosphere interactions with lower regions of the atmosphere, with the objective of developing predictive and mitigation capability.
Value: Gaining a better understanding of the impacts to society by magnetosphere-driven event impacts can guide mitigation priorities and response.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes
Economic EYespansion: Yes

The Activity: Create solid Earth, topography, altimetry, tomography, and vegetation map.
Category: Earth Observation
Objective ID Number: mEO2
Summary: Form Synthetic Aperature Radar images of the Earth from the Moon's surface using the relative motion of the Earth with respect to Moon. Utilize multiple antennas to form a microwave interferometer with a long baseline and extreme stability. This configuration also allows bistatic operation for remote sensing of complex terrestrial processes.
Value: Synthetic Aperature Radar will provide an all-weather capability to observe the Earth. Using a dual-band will also allow global observation of the ionosphere. Placing the observation capability on the Moon will provide the capability to observe the entire Earth's disk at any given time. The very large baseline allowed by interferometry on the Moon will create very accurate topography maps.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes
Economic EYespansion: Yes

The Activity: Observe the Earth's atmospheric composition to characterize its dynamics.
Category: Earth Observation
Objective ID Number: mEO3
Summary: Use multipsectral passive sensors with 1-km horizontal resolution to cover the UVA-TIR range for global mapping of tropospheric and stratospheric composition including ozone, CO, NO2, HCHO, BrO, aerosols, CO2, and CH4.
Value: Continuous observation of Earth's disk for the sunlit portion (solar backscatter) and whole disk (IR emission) offers a unique vantage point for characterizing surface fluxes of gases, global-scale transport of pollution, and ozone and aerosol dynamics.
Scientific Knowledge: Yes
Economic EYespansion: Yes

1 >> 2  >> 3  >> Next >>


 

Related Lists  Related Lists



No results were found

 

Similar categories lists 




 

More lists from this publisher 


  • Shai Sueno

    Comparison of email clients

    The following list compare general and features of a number of email client programs - creator/company, licence/price etc. Not all clients listed are in active development.

    by: Shai Sueno >>  Internet  20/08/2012  Watch Watch  
  • Shai Sueno

    Comparison of web browsers

    Information about: (1) what web standards and technologies the browsers support. (2) what internet protocols the browsers support. (3) what image formats the browsers support.

    by: Shai Sueno >>  Internet  20/08/2012  Watch Watch  
Tweet