NRC Study Seeks Community Input on the Scientific Context for the Exploration of the Moon

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 4, 2007

Community input is solicited in the form of white papers on key lunar science goals/opportunities suitable for implementation during the period 2006-2023. This includes international cooperation opportunities, and lunar as well as non-lunar science which could be done on/from the Moon.
The National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has been asked to evaluate the scientific opportunities presented by robotic and human exploration of the Moon during the initial phases of implementation of NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration.

The specific focus of the study is on two primary tasks and several secondary tasks. The first task is to identify and prioritize a set of scientific goals that can be addressed in the near term by robotic lunar missions and in early phases of human exploration by human-robotic activities on the Moon. The second task is to suggest which of the identified scientific goals are most amenable to orbital measurements, in situ study, or terrestrial analysis via the return of lunar samples to the Earth. The scientific scope of the study encompasses the history of the Moon and the Earth-Moon system, the origin and evolution of the Sun and planets, and implications for the origin and evolution of life on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system. The study is currently underway by a committee of 15 members chaired by Dr. George Paulikas and co-chaired by Dr. Carle Pieters.

NAI members are encouraged to reply to this call, and to note NAI affiliation in their response. Papers are requested to be submitted as soon as possible to affect the preparation of a May 2007 Final Report of the Committee. White papers are to be sent to with a Subject Line: NRC Lunar Science.

More information about the Scientific Context for the Exploration of the Moon Study Committee, and to access its Interim Report, go to:

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.