Author Topic: Lunar Exploration Science Orbiter  (Read 1963 times)

Offline redliox

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Lunar Exploration Science Orbiter
« on: 07/06/2023 04:51 pm »
Very recently heard about a potential successor to LRO.  Space.com mentioned the proposal in light of LRO entering a new extension but, eventually, how a replacement will be needed after its long life ends.  As more news on LExSO (or perhaps other NASA lunar orbiters) comes please add it here.

Paper on LExSO:
https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2023/pdf/1285.pdf
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Online Blackstar

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Re: Lunar Exploration Science Orbiter
« Reply #1 on: 07/06/2023 05:25 pm »
There has been low-level talk about replacing LRO for some years now. But because it keeps getting extended, and because nobody has indicated an urgent need for it, that just hasn't gotten very far.

Here are a couple of things on finding a successor:

https://www.leonarddavid.com/nasas-on-duty-moon-surveying-spacecraft-how-long-will-it-go/

https://www.space.com/moon-nasa-lunar-reconnaissance-orbiter-how-long


Offline redliox

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Re: Lunar Exploration Science Orbiter
« Reply #2 on: 07/06/2023 06:21 pm »
There has been low-level talk about replacing LRO for some years now. But because it keeps getting extended, and because nobody has indicated an urgent need for it, that just hasn't gotten very far.

The ol' 'not broken don't fix' thinkin', not that it isn't a bad principle.

What's mentioned about LExSO heavily implies it's an updated LRO; alot of advancement since the 2000s so potential a modernized LRO could do more...well except land naturally!
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Online Blackstar

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Re: Lunar Exploration Science Orbiter
« Reply #3 on: 07/06/2023 07:36 pm »
There has been low-level talk about replacing LRO for some years now. But because it keeps getting extended, and because nobody has indicated an urgent need for it, that just hasn't gotten very far.

The ol' 'not broken don't fix' thinkin', not that it isn't a bad principle.


It's different than that--more a case of needing time to build up support for a new one. LRO was a result of the Constellation program's requirement for high-resolution imagery of potential landing sites. That corresponded with some science community desirements. Surprisingly, the two communities were able to work effectively and make LRO happen.

LRO has been very successful and has only been declining slowly. Right now the imagery and the science is "good enough," and there's no clear set of new requirements, hence no forcing function to get a replacement built. If LRO got hit by a meteorite tomorrow, there would be more discussion about replacing it, but at the moment there isn't a lot of pressure to think about doing so.

By the way, the same thing applies to Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It still needs to be replaced, but the pressure to do so has not become acute.
« Last Edit: 07/06/2023 07:40 pm by Blackstar »

Offline deadman1204

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Re: Lunar Exploration Science Orbiter
« Reply #4 on: 07/07/2023 03:26 pm »
Even if there was a good case for a new LRO, it would come at the explicit detriment to another program now. NASA is only expecting worse money problems in the next few years due to congressional politics.
Could the case the strong enough to take money from clips or something else?

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: Lunar Exploration Science Orbiter
« Reply #5 on: 07/07/2023 03:33 pm »
CLPS don't have to be landers.  It could be a CLPS mission.

Online Blackstar

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Re: Lunar Exploration Science Orbiter
« Reply #6 on: 07/08/2023 12:41 am »
Even if there was a good case for a new LRO, it would come at the explicit detriment to another program now. NASA is only expecting worse money problems in the next few years due to congressional politics.
Could the case the strong enough to take money from clips or something else?

So there's two parts of any LRO replacement. One is high resolution imaging, and the other is some other science measurements. The high resolution imaging in the past has been of more interest to the human spaceflight community than to the science community. They largely funded LRO and the science community was invited along for the ride.

Now is that dynamic still the same today? I dunno. Is the human spaceflight side still interested in high resolution imagery, or do they have what they need? In other words, would they be willing to step in and fund another mission, or does the science side have to pay for it all?

If you want to know what the science community wants, you should go look at the planetary decadal survey.

Tags: LExSO LRO Luna Moon 
 

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