Recommendations of the 1965 Summer Conference on Lunar Exploration and Science, Falmouth, Mass., July 19-31, 1965

The Falmouth conference of 1965 made the first concerted effort to define a systematic 10-year program of lunar exploration, giving primary emphasis to manned exploration. Working groups were established in the disciplines of geodesy/cartography, geology, geophysics, bioscience, geochemistry (mineralogy and petrology), particles and fields, lunar atmosphere measurements, and astronomy. At the conclusion of the conference each disciplinary working group prepared a report, from which a summary was prepared by a coordinating committee. Following are excerpts from the summary, which set forth the major requirements for the program.*

*NASA 1965 Summer Conference on Lunar Exploration and Science, NASA SP-88 (Washington, 1965).



In this chapter the major recommendations of the Working Groups are arranged by missions or programs. The suggested priorities, instrument allocations, and mission characteristics for various vehicles are indicated briefly. . . .

Although there was some overlap, most of the recommendations could be divided into these missions: Apollo, Lunar Orbiter, Apollo Extension System-Manned Lunar Orbiter (AES-MLO), Apollo Extension System-Manned Lunar Surface (AES-MLS) and Post-AES.... As the scientific instruments and space vehicle characteristics and availability become more clearly defined, the assignment of experiments will become clearer.

Overall Program

The plans and recommendations of the 1965 Lunar Exploration Summer Conference are based on a 10-year program of exploration, beginning with the first manned lunar landing in the Apollo program. The recommendations of this conference are limited to the 10-year period following the first Apollo lunar landings because a decade seems to be the approximate maximum time for which developments can be meaningfully forecast. In addition, the long lead times involved in the development of equipment for use in space flight require that recommendations be made to cover this period of time. In carrying out these recommendations, it will be necessary for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to conduct its programs in a way that permits a maximum degree of flexibility to meet changing requirements.

The need for flexibility is also important for determining the rate at which missions should be conducted during this ten-year period. It is clearly desirable to schedule flight missions to provide adequate time between missions to react to the findings of one mission by modifying experiments for a later mission. One method of accomplishing this is through the modular construction of individual experiments. It is also desirable to program certain types of experiments so that the time of the operation of the devices used on one mission will overlap with the operating time of devices operated on a subsequent mission. This will provide not only scientific continuity in the experiments, but also simultaneous data from a multiplicity of lunar locations.

In addition, overall program planning considerations dictate the scheduling of missions at relatively close intervals. It is clearly desirable to maintain a certain degree of program momentum, both for psychological reasons and to make certain that the project personnel analyzing the results are provided with definite goals over a relatively long period of time.

On consideration of all of these factors, it was the feeling of the Working Groups that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should schedule lunar surface missions at a minimum rate of one per year or possibly two through 1974. Lunar orbital missions should be conducted at the rate of one per year. Since many of the lunar surface missions will require two flights each, three to five Apollo/Saturn V vehicles are required annually.

Present indications are that lunar exploration should continue at the same rate in the latter half of the 1970s. However, there seems to be no need now to plan the flight mission assignment schedule for that period of time.

The Early Apollo Missions

It is assumed that at least the first missions, with durations limited to a day or two and with exploration limited to an area close to the point of landing, will be dominated by operational considerations. Since the highest mission priority is assigned to the safety of the astronauts, the bulk of their time and attention will be devoted to perfecting the procedures of flight. In the relatively short duration of these early missions, the time assigned to scientific lunar exploration as such will be limited.

All experiments should be designed to conserve the astronauts' time, the most valuable scientific commodity on the early missions.

As flight procedures and techniques are perfected, and as improved flight equipment becomes available, plans should be made to gradually increase the duration of stays on the Moon, the distance traveled from the point of landing, and the proportion of the astronauts' time devoted to lunar exploration. A judicious use of "manned" and "unmanned" spacecraft will be required to obtain maximum coverage. Recommendations were made by some groups concerning the specific instrumentation to be carried on each of the first three landings.

Training of the astronauts in sampling techniques and field geology is of the utmost importance to insure the intelligent collection of samples. To assure collection of sterile samples, training is required for the astronauts in the nature of contamination, transfer of contaminants, aseptic transfer procedures, and chemical cleanliness.

Priorities for Experiments

The highest priority activity for the early Apollo landings is to return the greatest number and variety of samples as is feasible. It is desirable that all samples be kept sterile and free of chemical contaminants from such sources as the LEM fuels, the LEM atmosphere or the outgassing or leakage of the astronaut's suit. A variety of easily obtainable samples should be collected, ranging from dust to rock sizes. These samples should be taken as far from the LEM as possible. Both surface and subsurface samples are required. In the event of a semiaborted or shortened stay on the lunar surface, the astronaut's first scientific duty is the collection of as many samples as possible, without regard to sterility.

The second priority for the Early Apollo is the emplacement of the Lunar Surface Experiment Package (LSEP) by the astronauts. This should be emplaced to attain optimum operating conditions. Next in priority are the lunar geological traverses by the astronauts. If feasible, these should be accurately controlled with automatic procedures and monitoring. The description of topographic and geologic relations along the traverse lines should be supplemented by stereoscopic photographs.

Equipment Requirements

The working groups were asked to consider equipment priority beginning with the most important. Weights assigned are the absolute minimum needed to accomplish the task. In some cases (i.e., sample tools), added weight and complexity would be desirable if weight and space were available. This priority list is as follows:

  1. Sample containers (10 lb.) should keep samples sterile and chemically clean. Stainless steel is acceptable. More studies should be completed relative to the use of Teflon in the lunar environment.
  2. Sampling tools (10 lb.) should be easily operable, light, and simple; e.g., space hardened rock hammer, rubber mallet, sun compass.
  3. Aseptic sample collection tool (10 lb.).
  4. Photography (7 lb.): A stereoscopic camera with several filters and polarizing lenses.
  5. LSEP experiments: Suggested experiments in order of priority are: a passive seismograph (25 lb.); a magnetometer/particle detector (13 lb.) and a heat flow measurement device (15 lb.); an active seismograph experiment (7-10 lb.); a micrometeoroid detector (15 lb.). The gravimeter should be considered for AES because of its weight and development complexities.

Preliminary Studies

Studies and tests should be started immediately to determine the amounts and effects of the outgassing of the astronauts' suits and the escape of the atmosphere from the LEM. Sterilization of the escaping atmosphere from the LEM should be considered. Analyses of the possible contaminants in the LEM fuel and the effects on sample collection should be undertaken.

Sample Investigations

Upon return of the lunar samples to Earth, they will be prepared at a Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory (LSRL) for distribution. Here they will be logged in, cataloged, checked for outgassing, measured for low level radiation, and examined for pathogenic agents. Only those tests that must be done immediately will be conducted at the LSRL. The portion of samples to be distributed will be packaged and initial distribution to the selected scientific investigators will be made.

Early Lunar Orbiters

In the period before the end of the decade two classes of missions are scheduled.

Unmanned Missions

These missions will begin in the period of 1966-1967. The primary function for the approved missions is site selection, and hence, low altitude orbiters are desirable. However, should particles and field experiments be included on later flights, altitudes of 150 to 2000 km are required. Following are some specific recommendations for inclusion on these flights:

1. Cartography.
Stereophotogrammetric analysis of the photography obtained by the first block of Lunar Orbiters should be carried out to obtain information regarding the character of lunar topography and to gain experience in analyzing lunar photography. It is recommended that later first block Lunar Orbiters, or any second block, be placed in orbits of different inclinations, with priority for a polar orbit.
2. Particles and Fields.
A three-axis magnetometer and particle package to study day-night changes in particle and field environment should be included. For these experiments the spacecraft should be radioactively and magnetically clean.
3. Lunar Atmospheres.
Pressure, flux, and mass measurements for determination of neutral and ionic constituents should be conducted. This study is advantageous for early flights because of the uncontaminated state of the atmosphere.

Manned Missions

Consideration should be given to the inclusion of simple diagnostic experiments to be conducted from the orbiting Command/Service Module (CSM) in conjunction with Apollo experiments on the lunar surface.

AES Manned Lunar Orbiter (AES-MLO)

Role of AES-MLO

Since less than 1 percent of the lunar surface will be visited in the near future, a major source of scientific knowledge will come from orbiting spacecraft. Extensive information can be easily obtained for the following reasons:

  1. Variation of orbital inclinations will permit mapping of the entire lunar surface.
  2. Absence of atmosphere allows all regions of the electromagnetic spectrum to be accessible.
Thus, Manned Lunar Orbiters can provide useful additions to the subsurface information obtained from geophysical studies and to the local studies from fixed and traversing surface experiments. Because of the orbiter's nature, however, they cannot provide information with the same precision and detail as the surface instruments. Orbital investigations offer the potential of identifying local areas of the lunar surface with unusual properties that might be of interest for future manned exploration. It is recommended that one orbiter carrying the remote sensing package be flown before the first AES landings. Polar orbiters are desirable at the earliest time for total coverage of the lunar surface by remote sensors. In the first phase of lunar exploration (complete orbital survey), five or six missions are believed to be appropriate. Subsequently, AES-MLOs will be necessary to support and supplement the AES surface operations, as well as to monitor lunar activity. Launch rates should be approximately one a year. A systematic program of geologic mapping using orbital data is recommended with the preparation of geologic maps at the following scales:

  1. 1:2,500,000. Synoptic map for general planning and collating of a wide variety of data about the gross features of the Moon.
  2. 1:1,000,000. Complete synoptic geologic mapping.
  3. 1:250,000. Total coverage of the lunar surface. This is a long-range goal.
  4. 1:100,000; 1:25,000. Special purpose, directed toward solution of selected topical problems.

Photography Equipment

For complete photographic coverage of the lunar surface the lunar Orbital Camera System should include the following camera subsystems:

1. Metric (Mapping) Camera Subsystem.
Designed for use in determining the lunar figure and mapping of the lunar surface.
2. High Resolution Twin Convergent Panoramic Camera Subsystem.
Designed for photography of the highest resolution in keeping with coverage of large areas.
3. Ultrahigh Resolution Camera Subsystem.
Designed to produce photography of extremely high resolution and multispectral response of limited areas.
4. Multiband Synoptic Camera Subsystem.
A means for obtaining large areas of multispectral photographic coverage of the reflective properties of the lunar surface in the visible and near-visible portion of the spectrum.

Remote Sensors

Imaging sensors will provide information about surface structure and composition from depths of microns to a few meters. Imaging instruments, including UV [ultraviolet] imagers, IR [infrared] imagers, and high-resolution radars have proven value for surface and near-surface structure and composition studies and for the study of thermal anomalies. Coverage of the entire Moon with these instruments is recommended at an early date. Nonimaging remote sensors, such as the passive microwave, radar scatterometer, IR, X-ray. gamma-ray, and alpha-particle emission are recommended for inclusion in lunar orbital payloads pending the results of current remote sensor feasibility studies.

Atmospheres, Particles, and Fields Equipment

Atmospheric and ionospheric variability surveys should be conducted. The recommended characteristics of the ion and neutral mass spectrometers are described in the Group Report. Ion traps, solar wind detectors, and pressure gauges can be adapted from the unmanned programs.

Other experiments include the determination of the cosmic-ray albedo, the study of solar and lower-energy galactic cosmic rays (particle telescope), and the search for water using a neutron instrument to defect the hydrogen content of the surface.

Instruments for Subsurface Analysis

There are three orbital instruments that have the potential of obtaining valuable data from depths of kilometers and beyond. The first of these is a magnetometer, which will yield important information on the geology of the lunar crust. Second is a gravity gradiometer yielding details of the variations in the lunar gravitational field. The third is the electromagnetic pulse probe, which has the potential for probing to depth and differentiating the various layers present.

AES Manned Lunar Surface (AES-MLS)

The AES-MLS is essentially a continuation of the early Apollo missions characterized by longer stay time and larger scientific payloads.

It is suggested that this program can be usefully exploited in five or six missions, extending through 1974. The scientific requirements of this series include stay times up to 14 days and traverses up to 15 km from point of landing.

The longer stay time will probably permit the collection of more material than can be returned to Earth. Hence aids to the selection of samples in the field or prior to return should be provided by analytical equipment that will also measure sample characteristics that may be altered by return or packaging. Sample return is still the most significant achievement in these missions. Local mapping should also have a high priority so that sample location is accurately tied to the local geology.

The capability to off load several LSEP's during each AES mission is also an important aspect. In this way, a small array of stations (LSEP's) could be set into operation, giving important information for revealing the internal properties of the Moon.

The Moon should provide a unique base for astronomers because of its useful environmental characteristics, the most important being the lack of an appreciable atmosphere. However, exhaustive studies of the complete lunar environment are necessary before engineering design can be started.

The primary objective of analytical devices used on the lunar surface should be to extend the power of the observer to differentiate materials that have similar characteristics. The optimum sample return capability would be between 200 and 250 kg (450-600 lb.) per mission. The following basic types of equipment are required for this phase of lunar exploration:

  1. Automatic position recording systems. Essential for tracking and recording movements of the astronaut, and the roving vehicle, and knowing the orientation of the camera. The system would automatically telemeter this information back to Earth or to the LEM.
  2. Local Scientific Survey Module (LSSM). This surface roving vehicle should have the capability of carrying either one or two suited astronauts and scientific payload of at least 600 lb. An operational range of 8 km radius is a minimum, and 15 km would be more useful. Remote control of the LSSM would also be advantageous both before and after the arrival of the astronauts.
  3. Lunar Flying Vehicle (LFV). A LFV would be useful for extending the operational range of the AES and for studying features inaccessible to the LSSM due to topography. It should be able to carry a 300-lb. scientific payload over a distance of 15 km. Continued study should determine how effectively it can be employed in surface operation.
  4. Lunar Drills. The development of a 1-inch drill capable of penetrating to a depth of 3 meters in either rubble or solid rock is recommended. It should be operable from a roving vehicle. It is necessary for lunar heat flow studies and for obtaining biological samples.
Because of the liberal weight allowance for equipment delivered to the Moon's surface most Working Groups indicated a wide variety of experiments desired for inclusion in the program. Equipment and experiments include instrumentation for performing gravity surveys, active seismic surveys, magnetic measurements, radioactivity measurements, environmental measurements, and in general instrumentation and supporting equipment for conducting geological-geophysical surveys on the lunar surface.

To obtain maximum output of scientific information from these experiments, astronauts should be given scientific training in specific rather than general areas. The greatest need is for trained geologists; however, specialized training will be required in physics, meteorology, chemistry, and in other fields.


The AES should be followed by a program including long-distance travel, up to 800 km and fixed-site investigation from 2 months to 1 year. These missions should commence about 1975 and proceed at a rate of one per year through 1980. Additional orbital flights also appear desirable during this period so as to conduct simultaneous orbital and surface missions. A long-range laboratory vehicle for geological and geophysical exploration is required to permit the collection of data to form a broad regional integrated picture of the surface geology and crustal structure. These data will also be essential as a basis for interpretation of the imagery and measurements obtained from the remote sensing orbital vehicle and also to substantiate other investigations. A series of traverses along the geological belt is suggested, requiring a vehicle with the following characteristics:

  1. A minimum range of 800 km.
  2. Shelter for a three-person crew.
  3. Mission duration capability of up to 2 months.
  4. No constraints in returning to starting point.
A Lunar Base is a surface complex that will allow longer stay time, possibly up to a year, than is presently envisioned by the AES concept. Primary needs for a base are visualized to be:
  1. The measurement of presently occurring time-varying phenomena; many are geophysical in nature.
  2. The study of lunar surface processes.
  3. Deep-drilling studies - most important for information on early history, crustal composition, and surface properties of the past. The depth to be reached should probably exceed 300 meters.
  4. Detailed study of a critical field area.
  5. Construction and manning of large radio and optical telescopes, yet to be defined.
[A 36-page section following this summary in the original report, not reproduced here, is a detailed listing of the requirements formulated by each disciplinary working group.]

Previous Next Index