Stakeholder Collaborations at NASA Assistance with Moon to Mars Planning

Suji Sugathan
Sep 22, 2022

A updated version of NASA's Moon to Mars goals was made public on Tuesday, serving as a guide for influencing solar system exploration. These benchmarks in the organization's Moon to Mars exploration strategy will help define investments made by NASA, the agency's business partners, and other nations toward the Moon and beyond.

NASA invited its workforce, the general public, business, and the agency's international partners to provide feedback on 50 draught objectives that agency leaders across our mission directorates had developed earlier this year. NASA then held two workshops with business and international partners to continue the discussion. 

The 63 final objectives that were updated as a result indicate a more developed plan for NASA and its partners to create a roadmap for ongoing human presence and exploration throughout the solar system. They address four major topics: operations; science; travel and human settlement; and lunar and Martian infrastructure. In order to address similar themes among objectives, the agency additionally created a set of repeating principles.

"We need a road map with staying strength," said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. "Through a collaborative process, we've determined a core set of specified objectives to achieve our exploration goals with our partners." These goals are realistic and aspirational, and we appreciate the careful input from our workers, industry, and foreign partners who will work with us to forge our shared future. 

NASA has set a goal to investigate the Moon more thoroughly than ever before under Artemis. The agency intends to send people back to the Moon and build a cadence of missions, including one to the lunar south pole zone, with its Artemis I mission currently on the launchpad. These missions established a permanent presence that will guide upcoming exploration of more distant locations, such as Mars.

An Agency Cross-Directorate Federated Board, whose job it is to make sure NASA's focus is integrated with shared strategic goals and direction across the agency's mission directorates, joined forces with senior NASA leaders to work on the objectives in November 2021. The goals allow NASA to investigate possible opportunities and synergies between American and international goals for lunar and Martian exploration. 

In May 2022, the public and NASA employees were given access to the draught high-level objectives, and opinions were invited by the end of June. More than 5,000 suggestions were made to NASA, and as a result, several of the concepts were changed and some new goals were introduced. To help clarify and discuss the goals and pinpoint any shortcomings, NASA organised consultation sessions with both industry and international partners.

Update: NASA Seeks Comments on Moon to Mars Objectives by June 3 | NASA

Jim Free, NASA's associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, which oversaw the objectives team and is ultimately in charge of the organization's Moon to Mars architecture, stated that "we're helping to steward humanity's global migration to deep space." "The goals will make sure a long-term plan for solar system exploration can maintain consistency of purpose and withstand changes in finance and politics.
In the following years, new technologies, vehicles, and components will be produced. These goals are designed to be realistically attainable and assist provide clear direction.

The Artemis campaign, which is closely related to Mars mission preparation, highlights the skills and procedures required to perform deep space science and exploration missions at the Moon in a secure manner. The Artemis missions place a high premium on science in addition to important exploratory technological goals. 

NASA intends to send the first humans back to the Moon with Artemis II no early than 2024 and to the lunar surface no earlier than 2025 following the successful launch of Artemis I later this month. NASA will test systems and ideas for the trip to and from Mars using components of Artemis. By using the Moon as a testbed, the follow-on Mars campaign will stay connected to the agency's ongoing presence on the lunar surface.

"We sought to establish objectives to drive the next missions, as opposed to prior approaches that consisted on building elements and capabilities first to support the campaign," said Kurt Vogel, director of space architectures in the office of the NASA Administrator. We can now proceed with the following phases of the architecture design process because the community's participation was so very beneficial.

The ultimate framework goals can be found online at:

  • NASA’s Stakeholder Collaborations
  • Help Inform Moon to Mars Planning
  • Moon to Mars exploration
  • NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy
  • Agency Cross-Directorate Federated Board

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