NASA updates research goals – SpaceNews

PARIS — NASA has revised and expanded the set of goals it will use to drive its architecture for lunar and Mars exploration after receiving a ton of feedback from commercial and international partners.

The agency released a revised list of 63 targets to coincide with a presentation by the agency’s deputy administrator, Pam Melroy, at the International Astronautical Congress on September 20. The document is an updated version 50 goals for transportation and habitation, lunar and martian infrastructure, operations and science that the agency released for public comment in May.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a blueprint for continued human presence and exploration throughout the solar system,” Melroy said in her speech.

An initial draft of 50 tasks generated more than 5,000 comments from industry, international partners and the general public. The agency then invited some of those who submitted comments to two workshops, in Houston and in London, for further discussion.

One change is that the academic goals have been “completely restructured,” she said. The original goals focused only on lunar science with no specific Mars-related goals other than conducting a campaign to return samples from Mars. “It is very important. We need to know what we need to learn on Mars before we send humans.”

NASA also rewrote the goals to make them more consistent in their level of detail, and added categories such as “science support” goals that develop methods to support science as well as applied science. This resulted in 26 science targets, up from the original 20, most of which relate to both the Moon and Mars.

The revised document now includes a set of nine “recurring principles” or common themes for all purposes. An example of this is clearly mentioning the responsible use of space and defining what that means.

“We just felt it was in line with our accountability obligations, and it was something that was only implied, but not explicitly stated,” she said. Other recurring principles included in the document range from international and industrial cooperation to interoperability and reuse.

The goals are part of NASA’s broader approach to developing an architecture for human and robotic exploration and using it to guide programs. “We have a founding principle: design on the right and execute on the left,” she said, referring to developing an architecture to achieve a desired goal and using it to guide work on existing programs.

Melroy said NASA plans a “regular cadence” of workshops to provide new input on this architecture and mission set. “We will review the architecture every year,” she said. “Our key words are improvement, review analysis and engagement, and that’s a cycle we’re going to repeat.”

The revised goals received approval from one organization, the American Astronomical Society (AAS). “It is especially important that NASA has put science first and prioritized international cooperation. Goals AAS has championed since its inception,” Alan DeLuna, AAS president, said in a statement. NASA updates research goals – SpaceNews

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