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Return to the Moon: Lunar robotic science missionsThere are two important aspects of the Moon and its materials which must be addressed in preparation for a manned return to the Moon and establishment of a lunar base. These involve its geologic science and resource utilization. Knowledge of the Moon forms the basis for interpretations of the planetary science of the terrestrial planets and their satellites; and there are numerous exciting explorations into the geologic science of the Moon to be conducted using orbiter and lander missions. In addition, the rocks and minerals and soils of the Moon will be the basic raw materials for a lunar outpost; and the In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) of lunar materials must be considered in detail before any manned return to the Moon. Both of these fields -- planetary science and resource assessment -- will necessitate the collection of considerable amounts of new data, only obtainable from lunar-orbit remote sensing and robotic landers. For over fifteen years, there have been a considerable number of workshops, meetings, etc. with their subsequent 'white papers' which have detailed plans for a return to the Moon. The Lunar Observer mission, although grandiose, seems to have been too expensive for the austere budgets of the last several years. However, the tens of thousands of man-hours that have gone into 'brainstorming' and production of plans and reports have provided the precursor material for today's missions. It has been only since last year (1991) that realistic optimism for lunar orbiters and soft landers has come forth. Plans are for 1995 and 1996 'Early Robotic Missions' to the Moon, with the collection of data necessary for answering several of the major problems in lunar science, as well as for resource and site evaluation, in preparation for soft landers and a manned-presence on the Moon.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Taylor, Lawrence A.
(Tennessee Univ. Knoxville, TN, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Arizona Univ., Proceedings of the Lunar Materials Technology Symposium
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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