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Lessons Learned from the Scientific Program of Apollo Lunar Exploration Presentation to SSB/NRC: Committee on Lunar Sci PowerPoint Presentation
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Lessons Learned from the Scientific Program of Apollo Lunar Exploration Presentation to SSB/NRC: Committee on Lunar Science Priorities and Goals James W. Head Department of Geological Sciences Brown University Providence, RI 02912 USA August 2, 2006. Primary Committee Tasks:

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slide1

Lessons Learned from the Scientific

Program of Apollo Lunar Exploration

Presentation to SSB/NRC:

Committee on Lunar Science Priorities and Goals

James W. Head

Department of Geological Sciences

Brown University

Providence, RI 02912 USA

August 2, 2006

slide2

Primary Committee Tasks:

I. Identify a common set of prioritized scientific goals addressed through:

- A program of orbital and landed robotic

lunar missions: 2008-2018.

- Initial stages of human lunar exploration: ~2018-2023.

2. Suggest whether individual goals are most amenable to orbital measurements, in situ analysis or instrumentation, field observations, or returned sample analysis.

slide3

My Background:

- Worked in the systems analysis division (Bellcomm) of NASA Headquarters (1968-1973).

- Participated in:

- Candidate landing site identification, mapping and analysis (GLEP).

- Landing site selection (ASSB).

- Apollo landing site traverse planning (USGS, JSC, SWG).

- Apollo lunar surface operations planning (LSOP).

- Astronaut training (general and site-specific).

- Apollo mission simulations (usually as CDR or LMP).

- Apollo Mission Operations.

- Post-mission crew debriefing and analysis.

- Post-mission Preliminary Examination of samples and other data.

- Briefing of the Apollo Program Director and staff.

slide4

Robotic Lander/Orbiter Precursor Program:

- Ranger 1-9 (1961 - 1965).

- Surveyor 1-7 (1966 - 1968).

- Lunar Orbiter 1-5 (1966 - 1967).

slide5

Soviet Lunar Missions:

- Luna Landers.

- Lunokhod.

- Luna Sample Return.

- Luna Orbiters

- Zond Human-rated Missions

slide6

Apollo Launch Dates

- Astronaut Missions -

Apollo 7 October 11, 1968

Apollo 8 December 21, 1968

Apollo 9 March 3, 1969

Apollo 10 May 18, 1969

Apollo 11 July 16, 1969

Apollo 12 November 14, 1969

Apollo 13 April 11, 1970

Apollo 14 January 31, 1971

Apollo 15 July 26, 1971

Apollo 16 April 16, 1972

Apollo 17 December 7, 1972

slide7

Astronaut Training:

- General geological background (group field trips).

- Classes at JSC (rocks, processes, etc.).

- Landing site-related field trips (prime and backup crews)

- Mission-related field sites and traverse simulations.

- Orbital observations and science operations.

- Crew briefings on EVA traverses and timelines.

- Mission simulations.

- Final briefings at Crew Quarters at KSC in the days before launch.

- Debriefings following splashdown.

slide8

Scientific Goals and Objectives:

-Broadly, to understand the nature, internal structure and history of the Moon and its environment.

-Four-pronged approach:

1) Surface science station: Deployed surface experiments package (ALSEP).

2) Surface exploration: Lunar surface observations, photography, exploration traverses, and sampling (Field Geology Experiment); geophysical instruments (gravimeter, magnetometer, active seismic, SEP, etc.).

3) Orbital exploration: astronaut observations and pholography, SIM Bay experiments.

4) Moon as a platform: Lyman alpha telescope, gravity waves, etc.

slide9

Scientific Goals and Objectives: Implementation

-Implementation of broad goals and objectives focused on site selection and traverse planning.

-Fundamental questions evolved and changed very rapidly as data from each mission was returned and analyzed.

-Example 1: Origin of the maria, their age, their diversity, their relationships to basins, their mode of emplacement (Apollo 11-17).

-Example 2: Lunar chronology and history: What was the absolute age basis for the relative stratigraphic history?

-Example 3: The nature and role of impact basins.

slide22

Scientific Goals and Objectives: Implementation

-Implementation of broad goals and objectives focused on site selection and traverse planning.

-Fundamental questions evolved and changed very rapidly as data from each mission was returned and analyzed.

-Example 1: Origin of the maria, their age, their diversity, their relationships to basins, their mode of emplacement (Apollo 11-17).

-Example 2: Lunar chronology and history: What was the absolute age basis for the relative stratigraphic history?

-Example 3: The nature and role of impact basins.

slide23

The Evolution of Scientific Return from Apollo:

-Initial missions dominated by landing and crew safety concerns and short stay times.

-Development of pinpoint landing capability (Apollo 12) a major positive factor.

-Initial surface experiments package (ALSEP) was excellent and it evolved.

-Scientific surface equipment became more varied and sophisticated with each mission.

-Increasing mobility and increasing distance was always a concern (MET, LFU, LRV, DMLRV).

-Increased mission confidence permitted orbital plane changes and opened up the rest of the Moon.

-Involving the astronauts and FCOD personnel early in all phases helped immensely.

-Early rivalry and contempt gave way to scientific and engineering synergism and optimization of scientific return.

-J-Missions (Apollo 15-17) were well-executed scientific exploration endeavors.

-Apollo 18-21 would have explored human/automated concept more fully (DMRV).

slide25

Perspectives from Earth Scientific Exploration:

- Active volcanic eruptions: Mount St. Helens, Hawaii.

- Seafloor exploration: Human and Automated.

- Antarctic exploration: Remote field camp in harsh Mars-like hyperarid polar desert environment.

slide26

Summary of Broad Apollo Scientific Results:

- Completely changed our perspectives on the origin and evolution of the Moon.

- Turned astronomical objects into geological and geophysical objects.

- Provided an absolute chronology for lunar (and planetary) history.

- Yielded our first understanding of non-Earth planetary interiors.

- Revealed the fundamental themes of how one-plate planets work.

- Illuminated the role of impact cratering as a geological process throughout planetary history (from magma oceans to biotic crises).

- Provided a model for the formation of primary planetary crusts.

- Showed that the Moon was most likely derived from the Earth.

- The Moon has provided insight into the missing chapters of Earth history.

- The Moon remains the cornerstone of knowledge about planetary bodies other than the Earth.

- Apollo provided fundamental knowledge and a rich legacy for future generations.

slide27

Conclusions and Perspectives: The General

- Flags and footprints are one-shot deals and are not sustainable.

- To my knowledge, terms like “applied science” and “suitcase science” were not used in the Apollo Program.

- After Apollo 11 (flags and footprints), scientific exploration was what generated the excitement, and provided the basis for sustaining the program.

- What is the current justification for returning to the Moon?

-Why are we going? What will sustain the effort? What will be the legacy?

- Exploration is accessing and understanding the unknown: Science is exploration.

- Apollo recognized this early on and worked toward science and engineering synergism and optimization.

- Can the current effort do anything less and be successful?

slide28

Conclusions and Perspectives: The Specific

- Need to start where Apollo left off: Develop science and engineering synergism.

- The Moon is a cornerstone for Solar System exploration: Develop a broad program for an in-depth understanding of the Moon as a planetary body.

- Need well-integrated automated and human exploration elements: Orbital, lander, rover.

- Need to constantly iterate and fold results back into mission planning (Copernicus): need flexibility.

- Human mission landing mission style and frequency should be driven by science requirements and evolving scientific findings.

- As with Apollo, all science and operational capabilities should undergo constant evolution and optimization.

- Budget Bookkeeping.

- Total Costs: The Chinese Fortune Cookie.