Motives, methods, and essential preparation for planetary fi eld geology on the Moon and Mars

H. H. Schmitt, A. W. Snoke, M. A. Helper, J. M. Hurtado, Kip Hodges, J. W. Rice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

19 Scopus citations


Future lunar exploration will provide opportunities to expand the human scientifi c exploration of the Moon and, eventually, Mars. Planning for renewed fi eld exploration of the Moon entails the selection, training, and capabilities of explorers; selection of landing sites; and adoption of an operational approach to extravehicular activity. Apollo program geological exploration, and subsequent analysis and interpretation of fi ndings and collected samples underpin our current understanding of lunar origin and history. That understanding continues to provide new and important insights into the early histories of Earth and other bodies in the solar system, particularly during the period when life formed and began to evolve on Earth and possibly on Mars. Specifi c new lunar exploration objectives include: (1) testing the consensus "giant impact" hypothesis for the origin of the Moon; (2) testing the consensus impact "cataclysm" hypothesis; (3) determining the temporal fl ux of large impacts in the inner solar system; and (4) investigating the internal structure of the Moon. Apollo samples also identifi ed signifi cant and potentially commercial lunar resources that could help satisfy future demand for both terrestrial energy alternatives and space consumables. Equipment necessary for successful exploration includes that required for sampling, sample documentation and preservation, communications, mobility, and position knowledge. Easily used active geophysical, portable geochemical, and in situ petrographic equipment can greatly enhance the scientifi c and operational returns of extended exploration compared to that possible during the Apollo program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnalogs for Planetary Exploration
PublisherGeological Society of America
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780813724836
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
ISSN (Print)0072-1077

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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