B. Roadmaps of national and international Science and Analysis Working Groups:


1. ILEWG - The International Lunar Exploration Working Group

ILEWG is a public forum sponsored by the world's space agencies to support “international cooperation towards a world strategy for the exploration and utilization of the Moon - our natural satellite” (International Lunar Workshop, Beatenberg (CH), June 1994).

The Forum is intended to serve three relevant groups:

  1. Actual members of the ILEWG, e.g., delegates and representatives of the participating space agencies and organizations - allowing them to discuss and possibly harmonize their draft concepts and plans in the spirit of the Beatenberg Declaration
  2. Team members of the relevant space projects - allowing them to coordinate their internal work according to the guidelines provided by the charter of the ILEWG
  3. Members of the general public and of the Lunar Explorer's Society who are interested and wish to be informed on the progress of the Moon projects and possibly contribute their own ideas

ILEWG has several task groups that advance work in the areas of lunar science exploration, living and working on the Moon, key technologies, utilization of lunar resources, infrastructure of lunar bases, surface operations, society, law, policy and commerce, public outreach, education and also supports the Young Lunar Explorers. Regular declarations of ILEWG summarize findings and give recommendations that are summarized by a large community. ILEWG logical and progressive roadmap was defined in 1995 and is de facto implemented with the recent fleet of orbiter precursors for science, technology and reconnaissance. The second phase with number of coordinated surface elements supported its orbital assets will constitute the “Global Robotic Village”. The third phase will see the deployment of large systems in preparation for astronauts. The fourth phase will see the transition from short missions to permanent human presence at international bases.

Working areas of ILEWG:


2. LEAG - The Lunar Exploration Analysis Group

The Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) is responsible for analyzing scientific, technical, commercial, and operational issues associated with lunar exploration in response to requests by NASA.  The LEAG serves as a community-based, interdisciplinary forum for future exploration and provides analysis in support of lunar exploration objectives and their implications for lunar architecture planning and activity prioritization.  It provides findings and analysis to NASA through the NASA Advisory Council within which the LEAG Chair is a member of the Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS). LEAG has published in 2009 an extended document that incorporates previous efforts into an integrated plan for sustained lunar exploration. The Lunar Exploration Roadmap LER includes many investigations divided into 3 subthemes:

SCIENCE: Pursue scientific activities to address fundamental questions about our solar system FEED FORWARD: Use the Moon to prepare for potential future missions to Mars and other destinations SUSTAINABILITY: Extend sustained human presence to the Moon to enable eventual settlement

Overall the roadmap is intended to layout an integrated and sustainable plan for lunar exploration that will allow NASA to transition from the Moon to Mars (and beyond) without abandoning the lunar assets built up using tax payer dollars.


3. ILN International Lunar Network

The International Lunar Network ( ILN), aims to provide an organizing theme for all landed science missions in this decade by involving each landed station as a node in a geophysical network. 8-10 or more nodes are under discussion. In the ILN concept, each node would include some number of “core” capabilities (e.g., seismic, heat flow, laser retro-reflectors) that would be extant on each station, reflecting prioritized lunar science goals articulated in the National Research Council’s study (NRC 2007). Individual nodes could and likely would carry additional, unique experiments to study local or global lunar science. Such experiments might include atmospheric and dust instruments, plasma physics investigations, astronomical instruments, electromagnetic profiling of lunar regolith and crust, local geochemistry, and in-situ resource utilization demonstrations. A lunar communications relay satellite is under discussion to support activities on the lunar farside.


4. NLSI - The NASA Lunar Science Institute

The Mission of the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) and its member investigators is to advance studies of the Moon by:
  • Conducting collaborative research in all areas of lunar science, enabling cross-disciplinary partnerships throughout the lunar science community.
  • Providing scientific and technical perspectives to NASA on its lunar research programs and missions.
  • Exploring innovative ways of using information technology for scientific collaboration between geographically disparate teams.
  • Training the next generation of lunar scientists with research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Encouraging Education and Public Outreach (EPO) through formal education content development, informal student programs and participatory public events.

In order to advance the field of lunar science, the NLSI has assembled 7 U.S. science teams along with a partnership program for international science organizations (currently involved are Canada, South Korea, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Netherlands, and Germany).


5. MEPAG - Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group

MEPAG is NASA's community-based forum designed to provide science input for planning and prioritizing Mars future exploration activities for the next several decades. It is chartered by NASA's Lead Scientist for Mars Exploration at NASA HQ, and reports its findings at FACA-sanctioned meetings of the Planetary Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC). Open to all interested members of the Mars exploration community, MEPAG conducts analyses of planning questions that are presented to it.  MEPAG regularly evaluates Mars exploration goals, objectives, investigations and priorities on the basis of the widest possible community outreach. NASA's Mars Program Office, located at JPL, has been directed to manage the logistics associated with the operations of MEPAG on behalf of NASA's Space Science Enterprise. MEPAG holds open townhall-style meetings approximately twice per year. MEPAG’s analysis efforts are discussed at regular meetings that are held approximately twice per year, and the results are documented in reports that are posted on the MEPAG web site.  The cost of operating MEPAG is managed by the Mars Program Office at JPL.  MEPAG is managed by an Executive Committee consisting of the past and present Chairs, NASA’s Lead Scientist for Mars Exploration, two Mars Chief Scientists, the chair of the MEPAG Goals Committee (the only standing committee currently maintained by MEPAG), and an ESA Mars liason. 

MEPAG additionally maintains a mailing list of all currently active Mars scientists, and that mailing list is used to convey information about Mars-themed conferences and workshops, and other announcements of relevance to the community.  As of February 2010, this mailing list had about 2000 names.


6. The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap

The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap provides guidance for research and technology development across the NASA programs in space, Earth, and biological sciences. This roadmap, updated approximately every five years, is prepared by scientists and technologists from government, academia, and the private sector. Research goals and objectives detailed in the roadmap address three basic questions: 1) How does life begin and evolve? 2) Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? And 3) What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? Science goals in this roadmap identify key paths of research: understanding the nature and distribution of habitable environments in the Universe, exploring for habitable environments and life in our own solar system, understanding the emergence of life, determining how early life on Earth interacted and evolved with its changing environment, understanding the evolutionary mechanisms and environmental limits of life, determining the principles that will shape future life, and recognizing signatures of life on other worlds and on early Earth. Science objectives outlined in the roadmap identify high-priority efforts for the next three to five years.  The roadmap identifies four basic principles that are fundamental to implementing NASA’s astrobiology program: 1) Astrobiology is multidisciplinary in content and interdisciplinary in execution; 2) Astrobiology encourages planetary stewardship through an emphasis on planetary protection; 3) Astrobiology recognizes broad societal interest in its endeavors; and (4) Public interest in astrobiology warrants a strong emphasis on communication, education, and public outreach. Astrobiology is an important and growing focus of planetary exploration.


7. IMEWG - International Mars Exploration Working Group

The International Mars Exploration Working Group (IMEWG) has representatives from all space agencies and major institutions participating in Mars Exploration. The IMEWG was conceived at a meeting at Wiesbaden, Germany, May 1993, and since then has met two times a year to discuss the general strategy for the exploration of Mars.

The present charter of the IMEWG (approved in 1996) is as follows: 

The intent of IMEWG is to lay out a broad long-range strategy for Mars exploration. The strategy must be sufficiently specific that intermediate and long-range goals can be identified, and yet sufficiently flexible that the means and schedule for achieving the goals can accommodate to programmatic and fiscal realities. The strategy must also be consistent with missions already funded or planned. The recommendations issued by IMEWG have been well met in various space organizations and led to actions that improve the complementarity of the planned and approved mission scenarios. 


8. ISECG - The International Space Exploration Coordination Group

The International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) was established in response to "The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination" (GES 2007) developed by fourteen space agencies and released in May 2007. This GES Framework Document articulated a shared vision of coordinated human and robotic space exploration focused on solar system destinations where humans may one day live and work. Among the many Framework Document findings was the need to establish a voluntary, non-binding international coordination mechanism through which individual agencies may exchange information regarding their interests, plans and activities in space exploration, and to work together on means of strengthening both individual exploration programs as well as the collective effort.

The goals of ISECG are: 1) to establish a voluntary, nonbinding international coordination mechanism that enhances information exchange concerning interests, objectives, and plans in space exploration; and 2) to strengthen both individual exploration programs and the collective effort. The ISECG promotes and transmits non-binding findings and recommendations. Toward this end, the ISECG has established several dedicated working groups such as the International Space Exploration Coordination Tool INTERSECT which facilitates cooperation by integrating mission and capabilities information provided by participating agencies. The ISECG International Architecture Working Group is also nearing completion of a Reference Architecture for Human Lunar Exploration. Future efforts will focus on risk reduction strategies and the creation of a global exploration roadmap. These activities represent a useful first step toward globally coordinated exploration.

ISECG Global Exploration Roadmap
ISECG Global Exploration Roadmap - August 2013


9. THESEUS: Towards Human Exploration of Space: a EUropean Strategy

The objective of THESEUS is to develop an integrated life sciences research roadmap enabling European human space exploration in synergy with the ESA strategy, taking advantage of the expertise available in Europe and identifying the potential of non space applications and dual research and development.

Main Objectives of THESEUS:

The basis of the activity is the setting-up and coordination of 14 disciplinary Expert Groups (EGs) composed by key European and international experts in their field. A particular attention has been given to ensure that complementary expertises are gathered in the EGs.

At the end of the project, an integration effort will involve identification of overarching interdisciplinary themes and the integration of EGs’ findings into the final strategic roadmap. This document will be targeted to policy maker and programme managers in space agencies and national research councils.