Press Release

8th ILEWG International Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon – Lunar Beijing Declaration

By SpaceRef Editor
July 28, 2006
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8th ILEWG International Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon – Lunar Beijing Declaration

More than 240 experts and 300 students from 18 countries met in Beijing from 23 to 27 July 2006 for the 8th ILEWG Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon, kindly and effectively hosted by CNSA, with support from CASC, LEPC, CSSAR, CAECC. Based on the deliberations and opinions, the participants have prepared the Lunar Beijing Declaration.

We salute the SMART-1 team for a successful technology and science mission, as the spacecraft approaches its grand finale. This small spacecraft has initiated an exciting International Lunar Decade that will inspire a new generation of lunar explorers.

Within the next two years, four independent spacecraft (SELENE, Chang’E 1, Chandrayaan 1 and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) will orbit the Moon carrying an extensive array of sophisticated science and exploration instruments. Our understanding of the Moon and its resources will be revolutionized when the rich array of data from this flotilla is analyzed by scientists and experts around the world.

Since the first phase of lunar exploration is centered on remote-sensing observations, we endorse the following actions as being of long-term mutual benefit:

1. Internationally coordinated analyses should be carried out to facilitate the validation of data sets produced by different instruments and to enhance the usefulness of information acquired by multiple spacecraft

2. A small number of specific targets are recommended to facilitate both the cross-calibration of different instruments and to train young explorers in lunar science issues. After initial calibration, data should be made available for coordinated analyses by the international community

3. All solar monitor data from lunar orbital missions should, to the extent possible, be made available as rapidly as possible. Cross correlation of this information will improve calibration of all the instruments dependent on knowledge of solar fluxes

4. Every effort should be made to coordinate development and utilization of a common, improved Lunar Coordinates Reference Frame

5. Lunar mission teams are encouraged to archive final mission data products in a PDS-compatible form, to implement international standards for access, and to support Unicode, or other necessary format

6. The establishment of Common standards for S-band spacecraft communication, with potential for common tracking operations and backup support to other missions, if necessary

7. A coordinated campaign to provide data cross-check and validation for modern-era missions that have overlap in coverage, with data and experience from Past missions (including. archived and digitized Apollo and Soviet-era lunar data) is recommended

8. Information about the five impact events/probes [SMART-1, Chandrayaan-1, LCROSS, SELENE RSAT and VSAT] and subsequent impacts of lunarcrafts should be coordinated with other space missions. Ground-based and space-based measurements are encouraged for near-side events. All of the planned four orbital missions are asked observe the SMART-1 impact site. Before, after, and real-time measurements should be planned by all spacecraft that are in orbit during the impact events

To strengthen exchange between lunar experts and to enhance collaboration, we recommend to international science and space organizations join in and support the International Lunar Decade.

For the subsequent phase of Lunar Global Robotic Village and preparation for human exploration, we further recommend:

9. To promote use of standardized telecommunications, navigation, and VLBI support for future orbiter, lander and rover missions. We propose that ILEWG and agencies study the opportunity to embark some payload technologies for navigation and guidance on orbiters and landers as part of a Global Moon Navigation and Positioning System.

10. Lunar Missions should document their plans for end of operations. Before completing their mission, future orbiters could be placed on frozen stable orbits where they can participate in a joint infrastructure for data relay, aid to navigation and lunar internet, in addition to landed surface beacons

11. Recognizing the importance of the geophysical studies of the interior of the Moon for understanding its formation and evolution, the necessity for a better monitoring of all natural hazards (radiation, meteorites impacts and shallow moonquakes) on the surface, and the series of landers planned by agencies in the period 2010-2015 as an unique opportunity for setting up a geophysical network on the Moon, we recommend the creation of an international scientific working group for definition of a common standard for future Moon network instruments, in a way comparable to Earth seismology and magnetism networks. We encourage interested agencies and research organizations to study inclusion of network instruments in the Moon landers payload and also piggyback deployment of a Moon Geophysical and Environmental Suitcase

12. The importance of protecting the Moon becomes more urgent than ever before, as we enter a decade with many planned lunar exploration missions, including orbiters, impactors, penetrators and landers. We encourage space agencies to give their attention to the protection of the Moon for sustainable exploration, research and utilization. A dedicated task force should be set up to study this issue and produce a recommendation for all future missions

13. Lunar Exploration is ideal for outreach activities that are accessible and inspiring for the next generation of explorers. We encourage student participation in lunar payloads and missions. We propose to use milestones of lunar missions for public outreach events promoting exploration, space science and technology

We reaffirm our commitment, with the international lunar missions and research community, to prepare the way for global participation in the extension of human presence on the Moon and beyond, for the benefit of all mankind.

Beijing, July 27, 2006

Unanimously approved by the participants

SpaceRef staff editor.