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LSSW: NASA’s John Olson Presents Exploration and Architecture Plans, In Brief March 19, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Lunar Surface Systems Workshop, NASA, rover.

For the second feature in my series of Lunar Surface Systems Workshop coverage, I’m going to be taking a look at the second opening remarks–a 9-slide beauty presented by Dr. John Olson of NASA’s ESMD (Exploration).

The presentation begins with some introductory content–why explore the Moon, and more on the partnerships potential detailed in the first presentation

What’s talked about next is “Architecture Development Driven by a Strategy”, a chart noting where NASA has been and the next steps in the program. It mentions an major NASA review that comes up a lot in this LSSW forum—the June 2008 Lunar Concept Capabilites Review (LCCR).  At this stage, there are surface system concepts (hence this forum exploring them) but no final designs, with a big NASA review of the concepts coming in June 2010.

Now comes some really cool stuff:


That spiffy rendering comes in a discussion of the Lunar Architecture Framework. The rendering compares the Lunar Electric Rover (aka Small Pressurized Rover; which made an appearance in President Obama’s Inaugural Parade), which can carry astronauts comfortably for two-week ventures, to the more utility/construction-oriented Lunar Chariot and the old Apollo rover.

The slide’s bullets are below:

  • Human lunar missions will be used to build an outpost at a polar site
  • The ability to fly human sorties and cargo missions with the human lander will be preserved
  • Initial power architecture will be solar with the potential augmentation of nuclear power at a later time
  • Robotic missions will be used to:

            -Characterize critical environmental parameters and lunar resources

            -Test technical capabilities as needed (Build-up approach)

  • The ability to fly robotic missions from the outpost or from Earth will be a possible augmentation

The sorties mentioned sound like a fun concept–astronauts hopping around  in the lander to different locations on the Moon, perhaps even to visit other countries’ bases. And of course, they could also be overseeing robotic missions to points of interest from the base. Also of note is the lean towards solar—there are concepts proposed for nuclear options, but this suggests they take a back seat strategically, if you will.

The graphic below is an even more fun one: a labeled rendering of the outpost itself. It’s extremely cool, and also fairly self-explanatory, so I’ll let you click below and explore that personally:


Check back tomorrow for the beginning of my look at the incredible, titanic Lunar Surface Architecture Status, filtered down with loving attention on its individual elements so it’s easier to digest :) (It updates the status on basically every element, so generally expect a post on each element, with all the background and links you need.)



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