The Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG), one of NASA’s advisory bodies, held its annual meeting 10-12 October, 2017. Elphic and Colaprete were in attendance. LEAG is the primary organization charged with providing recommendations to both the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) Advanced Exploration Systems, concerning the present and future plans for lunar human and robotic exploration.
With the new Administration’s re-focus of NASA on lunar exploration, the LEAG developed several recommendations at this annual meeting; a key recommendation concerned the Resource Prospector mission:
LEAG Recommendation: “Accelerating the Launch of Resource Prospector”
The LEAG community strongly supports this mission be flown without any further delay and encourages an accelerated development to flight. LEAG also encourages continued dialogue between SMD/Planetary Science Division and HEOMD Advanced Exploration Systems to develop a science and exploration partnership for the RP mission, which should start with a Participating Scientist program for RP well before the launch to help inform the mission profile.
Background: Resource Prospector has taken on new significance given there are 6 international missions proposed for exploration of lunar resources. In addition, the recent Space Council announcement establishing returning US Astronauts to the surface of the Moon as a strategic goal has given this mission added significance.