If you asked 100 people why we should return to the moon, you'd probably get 100 answers - or more! Over the past year, NASA posed this question not just to 100 people, but to more than 1,000 from around the world. Scientists, engineers, commercial entrepreneurs, space advocates, and the general public all provided answers to this intriguing question.

    Starting with just their responses, NASA worked with 13 of the world's space agencies to develop a Global Exploration Strategy. The strategy explains why the global community believes we should explore space, how space exploration can benefit life on Earth, and how the moon can play a critical role in our exploration of the solar system. One of the primary activities the global space community pursued in 2006 was to answer the questions, "Why should we return to the moon?" and "What do we hope to accomplish through lunar exploration?"

    Additional Information

    › Download a 'Why the Moon?' poster (2.8 MB PDF)
    › Global Exploration Strategy and Lunar Architecture Briefing Transcript (76 Kb PDF)
    › Global Exploration Strategy and Lunar Architecture Frequently Asked Questions
    › Briefing Charts (3.5 MB PDF)

    Lunar Exploration Themes

    Six lunar exploration themes evolved from the recent Global Exploration Strategy discussions. NASA engaged the global space community to develop the themes by asking the question, "Why should we return to the Moon?"

    From the answers emerged six common areas of interest – six areas of pursuit which, seen through the eyes of the world, define the value of going to the moon. NASA took these six ideas and worked with other space agencies to develop the following lunar exploration themes. View a video on each theme in the Related Multimedia section below.

    Human Civilization
    Extend human presence to the moon to enable eventual settlement.

    Scientific Knowledge
    Pursue scientific activities that address fundamental questions about the history of Earth, the solar system and the universe - and about our place in them.

    Exploration Preparation
    Test technologies, systems, flight operations and exploration techniques to reduce the risks and increase the productivity of future missions to Mars and beyond.

    Global Partnerships
    Provide a challenging, shared and peaceful activity that unites nations in pursuit of common objectives.

    Economic Expansion
    Expand Earth's economic sphere, and conduct lunar activities with benefits to life on the home planet.

    Public Engagement
    Use a vibrant space exploration program to engage the public, encourage students and help develop the high-tech workforce that will be required to address the challenges of tomorrow.

    Lunar Exploration Objectives

    Almost 200 lunar exploration objectives resulted from the Global Exploration Strategy process. NASA engaged the global space community to develop the objectives by asking the question, "What do we hope to accomplish through lunar exploration?"

    NASA took the many answers to this question and compiled them into a comprehensive database of almost 200 different things we could do on the moon! The lunar exploration objectives are meant to capture the entire set of activities that anyone involved in lunar exploration may want to pursue. These activities could be carried out by NASA, another space agency, a private company, a university, or anyone else who invests in space exploration.

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