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NASA Seeks Ideas for Scientific Activities Near the Moon

NASA is asking the global science community to submit concepts that could advance scientific discoveries in space near the Moon by leveraging potential capabilities provided by the deep space gateway concept. NASA will invite authors of selected submissions to discuss their concepts at a Deep Space Gateway Science Concept Workshop taking place Feb. 27 – March 1, 2018, in Denver.  

Using the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft, NASA would assemble the gateway near the Moon, where it will provide new opportunities for science and exploration operations. A power and propulsion element, habitation capability, logistics module(s), and an airlock would be delivered on early SLS and Orion missions to create the gateway. The power and propulsion element would be the first component to be deployed and would be able to provide ample power and communications to science instruments as well. NASA recently awarded study contracts to five commercial companies to advance development for the power and propulsion element.

Ben Bussey, science workshop co-chair and chief exploration scientist in NASA’s Human Exploration Mission Directorate, explains that engaging the scientific community now is a strategic effort to enhance the use of the gateway. “Early integration of science requirements into the gateway design is essential to maximizing its scientific value,” he said. “We expect that some science investigations may require the attention of a crew while other investigations may operate autonomously using the gateway infrastructure to supply power or communications.”

Submissions will be accepted in the form of two-page (maximum) abstracts, due by Dec. 15, 2017. The range of scientific focus is unlimited, although the expected disciplines will include planetary science, astrophysics, Earth observations, heliophysics, fundamental space biology and human health and performance.

The workshop in February will provide a forum for the presentation, discussion, and consideration of various concepts, options, capabilities, and innovations that could be possible using the gateway capabilities. Following the workshop, Bussey and his co-chair, Michael New, will provide a report detailing scientific opportunities and the associated instruments and infrastructure requirements to NASA senior leadership and the team responsible for formulating the deep space gateway concept.

Further details regarding abstract submission instructions are available at: