NASA has an ambitious plan to return astronauts to the Moon - Project Artemis.The return includes commercial & international partners with the goal of promoting a faster & more extensive exploration of the Moon as well as destinations beyond.
In a fashion similar to what has been done in commercializing low-Earth orbit, NASA proposes to lead these partnerships.The plan is to establish a space outpost - the Gateway - to learn how to live in deep space & to explore the Moon from above.In addition, it will allow the landing of astronauts at the lunar south pole by 2024.
What are the goals of Project Artemis? Is the lunar south pole the best place to go? What science will we be able to conduct from the surface of the moon & from the Gateway?
The new plan has received both praise & criticism. Supporters praise it as valuable, as they view it as the first true step for humans to permanently settle another world, & prepare for the exploration of Mars & beyond.Opponents criticize it as too rushed, too costly, or too ill-defined.
We are inviting three space scientists (an engineer, an explorer, & an astronomer) from different backgrounds to share their thoughts on this new program. Bruce Pittman, who has been the Chief System Engineer in the NASA Space Portal Office at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley since 2005 & has supported the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, will describe the goals & objectives of the gateway & the return to the Moon in the framework of NASA. Dr. Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist with the SETI Institute & the Mars Institute, will discuss the new prospects of exploring the Moon & their potential to advance the human exploration of outer space, in particular of Mars. Finally, Dr. Doug Caldwell, Kepler Instrument Scientist & Chair of the exoplanet group of the Sagan Center, will emphasize the use of the Gateway for scientific studies in fields as diverse as astronomy & medicine.
Doug Caldwellis the Instrument Scientist for the Kepler/K2 Mission & works in the TESS Science Processing Operations Center.
Dr. Caldwell has worked on the Kepler mission since the proposal phase. During this time, the discovery of thousands of worlds around other stars has shown that planets orbit most of the stars in our Galaxy. Caldwell has had a part in this discovery through his work on Kepler. His focus was on the performance of the Kepler photometer & pixel calibration & systematic noise rejection in the data processing pipeline. As the Kepler & K2 Instrument Scientist, Caldwell led the team that identified & characterized several critical noise artifacts introduced by the Kepler photometer. Over the last 18 years, he has worked on all aspects of Kepler's science from data analysis to planet validation & follow-up.
We now know that planets are common, but we still want to know how many of these planets are Earth-size, & possibly Earth-like? Dr. Caldwell hopes to help answer these questions through his efforts with the TESS mission. He has been working to understand how the instrument affects the science data in order to inform the pipeline processing, & working to help scientists understand the instrumental & processing impacts on TESS science results.
Dr. Pascal Leeis a planetary scientist with the SETI Institute, the Mars Institute, & NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. His research focuses on water on Mars, caves on the Moon, & the origin of Mars' moons, Phobos & Deimos. Dr Lee is also internationally recognized for his work on advancing the human exploration of the Moon & Mars. He has led over 30 expeditions to the Arctic & Antarctica to study the Moon & Mars by comparison with the Earth, & since 1997 has directed the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP), the leading Moon/Mars analog field research project on Devon Island, in the Canadian High Arctic. As part of the HMP, Dr Lee led the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition, an epic vehicular journey on sea-ice along the fabled Northwest Passage & the subject of the award-winning documentary filmPassage To Mars(2016).
Dr Lee has also been studying ice-rich lava tubes in Iceland as analogs for potential ice-rich caves on the Moon & Mars, & is pioneering the use of new robotic technologies - in particular drones & inflatables - to explore planetary surfaces & caves. His first book,Mission: Mars, won the 2015 Prize for Excellence in children's science books from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In his free time, Pascal likes to be walked by his dogs, fly, & paint. He is an FAA-certified helicopter commercial pilot & flight instructor, & an artist member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.
Bruce Pittmanhas been the Chief System Engineer in the NASA Space Portal Office at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley since 2005.In this position he supported the Emerging Space Office first in the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist & then in the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.
The programs he supported ranged from orbital applications of the International Space Station & other orbiting commercial facilities to low cost, reliable access to space, reusable space infrastructure as well as cislunar commercialization.The Space Portal's latest initiative is a plan for returning to the Moon using public/private partnerships. Bruce led the Space Portal support of the Frontier Development Lab summer study program with the SETI Institute in 2016, 2017, & 2018. Mr. Pittman has a BS in Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering from U. C. Davis & a MS in Engineering Management from Santa Clara University.He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) & is the chairman of the AIAA Commercial Space Group. In 2012 Mr. Pittman was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Space Society (NSS) & in 2013 he was elected by the Board as Senior Vice President & Senior Operating Officer of NSS.He is an advocate of the Space Foundation & a member of the Board of Directors of the Waypaver Foundation.
He has authored or co-authored more than four dozen papers on a technical, management, & business topics in aerospace & high technology.He has co-authored two book chapters inBeyond The Earth: The Future of Humans in SpaceandandSpace Commerce:The Inside Story.In addition to his technical work Mr. Pittman has also been a member of the adjunct faculty in the Graduate Engineering School at Santa Clara University for more than thirty years.