Moon to Mars Architecture
NASA’s Moon to Mars architecture represents the hardware and operations needed for human missions to the Moon and Mars, and how they function together as a system. The architecture is not a mission, a manifest, or a set of requirements, but it does define the elements — rockets, spacecraft, rovers, spacesuits, communications relays, and more — that will be incrementally developed and delivered to the Moon and Mars for long-term, human-led scientific discovery in deep space.
NASA is evolving its architecture development approach by moving toward a process that applies a systems engineering method to distill the Moon to Mars Objectives into architectural elements. This process incorporates analysis across all of NASA and important contributions from U.S. industry and international space agencies.
Architecture Concept Review
NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD) is responsible for defining and managing systems development for programs critical to NASA’s Artemis program and planning for NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach. ESDMD manages development for human-led lunar orbital, lunar surface, and Mars exploration, works with NASA’s Space Operations, Science, Space Technology, and Aeronautics mission directorates to integrate the science and robotic components, and coordinates with many other internal and external partners to develop the architecture.
ESDMD conducted its first Architecture Concept Review (ACR22) in January 2023 to review the 2022 architecture analysis work. The purpose of the ACR is to help unify the agency, promote advocacy for the architecture, and document the previous year’s architecture analysis. Throughout the year, NASA architecture teams analyze the Moon to Mars Objectives and distill them into mission elements and how they function together to accomplish human missions to the Moon to Mars. Future ACRs will take place annually in November.
The focus of ACR22 was to gain concurrence on the evolutionary process, and to review the architectural analysis conducted in 2022. The resources listed below document the Moon to Mars Strategy and Objectives, overall ACR process, and results of ACR22. These resources are made publicly available to foster open communication with current and future partners that have ambitions to work with NASA and contribute to the architecture.
NASA’s process answers a call from Vice President Harris, as Chair of the National Space Council, to develop a plan for an initial lunar surface architecture which includes commercial and international partnerships.
Architecture Concept Review Products
Architecture Definition Document
This Technical Publication is a snapshot of NASA’s current Moon to Mars architecture. The ADD will be updated following future annual ACRs. This is for highly technical readers who wish to dive into the Moon to Mars exploration strategy campaign segments, the architecture elements and functional allocations, and crewed and uncrewed reference missions for each element. (PDF, 150 pages)
- Objectives Mapping Table
This Excel file, extracted from the ADD, is provided for ease of importing into relevant systems or databases.
- NASA’s Moon to Mars Architecture: A Summary of the 2022 Architecture Concept Review
This document is a high-level summary of the Architecture Definition Document, written for technically informed audiences who want to become more familiar with NASA’s Moon to Mars architecture, elements of the architecture and their functional descriptions. (PDF, 18 pages)
Architecture Concept Review 2022 White Papers
These white papers were developed to address topics of frequent discussion in short format. Each is 4-6 pages long. The topics are:
- Systems Analysis of Architecture Drivers
- Why NRHO: The Artemis Orbit
- Why Artemis will Focus on the Lunar South Polar Region
- Gateway: The Cislunar Springboard for International and Sustainable Human Deep Space Exploration
- Mars-Forward Capabilities to be Tested at the Moon
- Mars Transportation
NASA has a long, successful history of working with a diverse community of partners to advance common space exploration and science objectives. The agency is committed to building on and broadening these global partnerships.
If you are an authorized representative of an international space agency or government and wish to engage further on NASA’s Moon to Mars architecture, please contact NASA at HQ-M2Marchitecture-International@mail.nasa.gov following your review of the Architecture Definition Document.
If you are an authorized representative of a U.S.-based organization and wish to engage further on NASA’s Moon to Mars architecture, please contact NASA at HQ-M2M@mail.nasa.gov following your review of the Architecture Definition Document.
For anyone sending an email to either address above: Please do not include any business proprietary or personally sensitive information. NASA makes no guarantee of confidentiality regarding any data or request submitted. Submissions will be used for informational purposes only and do not imply or guarantee that any action will be taken by NASA.
Blueprint Blueprint for Moon to Mars Exploration
NASA’s Moon to Mars Strategy and Objectives Development
This document provides insight into how NASA developed and refined its Moon to Mars Objectives released in 2022, and describes how the agency is establishing an objectives-driven architectural review process to ensure efforts to develop, build, and achieve exploration activities at the Moon and Mars are resilient for decades to come. (PDF, 78 pages)
- Moon to Mars Objectives Executive Summary
This document provides an introduction, background and listing of 63 Moon to Mars Objectives that NASA developed and refined with inputs from individuals, companies, academic institutions, international space agencies, and our very own workforce. (PDF, 13 pages)
Moon to Mars Architecture Webinar for U.S. Industry and Academia – May 22, 2023
NASA conducted a one-hour webinar to share the architecture development status and Architecture Concept Review Process. The following files are provided for anyone who was not able to attend.
Moon to Mars Architecture Workshops – June 2023
NASA completed two architecture workshops in 2023, in which the agency invited international space agencies, U.S. companies, and academic institutions to review and provide feedback on the agency’s Moon to Mars architecture approach. The following files were presented during the workshops. Read more about the workshops here.
White Paper Presentations:
- Systems Analysis of Architecture Drivers
- Mars-Forward Capabilities at the Moon
- Why Artemis will Focus on the Lunar South Pole
- Animation: Apollo Landing Sites
- Animation: South Pole 2026
- Animation: Viewing Earth and the Sun from the lunar South Pole
- NRHO: The Artemis Orbit
- Gateway: Cislunar Springboard
- Mars Transportation
- Animation: Chasing Mars is an example trajectory representing the trade space between high and low energy mission opportunities.
NASA Procedural Requriements and Interoperability:
- NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management (7120.F)
- NASA Systems Engineering Processes and Requirements (7123.1C)
- International Deep Space Interoperability Standards
Artemis III Mission Definition:
- Artemis III Candidate Landing Regions
- Artemis III Science Definition Team Report
- Artemis III Mission Overview
Sample Materials Demonstrating the Value of Human Spaceflight: