|Abstract||This report describes a recent (August 2009) 2-day workshop at the NASA Johnson Space Center discussing lessons learned from traverses, driven largely by science objectives, in the Earth's polar
regions. These lessons are viewed as contributing one facet of NASA's preparation to explore, over extended periods of time, the surface of the Moon, Mars, and the inner solar system. More than 60 years of extensive traverses in both the Arctic and
Antarctic provide a potentially rich source of lessons for future planetary missions under analogous conditions. Results from this and a previous workshop (Hoffman, 2002) examining the similarities of space and polar exploration both indicate highly
parallel activities and functional needs. However, as Henry Kissinger has noted: "History is not, of course, a cookbook offering pretested recipes. It teaches by analogy, not by maxims." So it was also recognized during the course of discussions at
the workshop reported here that NASA's current approach for long duration planetary surface operations has fundamental differences from any of the operational approaches described by the invited speakers. Choices made regarding these approaches drive
the crew size and skill mix, as well as the system capabilities, needed to accomplish basic mission objectives. These, in turn, drive the logistical pyramid needed to support operations. The key then is to learn the lessons from Arctic and Antarctic
traverse and adapt them to future planetary missions. This workshop attempted to facilitate this learning process by arranging for a direct interaction between those who created the history of Arctic and Antarctic traverses with those who are tasked
with creating the future history of these traverses on other planets.|
This workshop report documents the presentations made at the workshop and discusses several of the key findings or lessons. The presentations - visual materials and associated
transcripts - are contained in appendices to this report. These appendices are considered the principal knowledge captured during this workshop; the sections of this report that precede these appendices provide background and context for the
appendices and capture a summary of the discussions by those attending the workshop. Fifty people, including the invited speakers, attended the first day's presentations. These attendees represented six different NASA Centers and several contractors
or universities. The presentations consisted of: (1) Dr. Charles Swithinbank (Scott Polar Research Institute) discussing observations from the Norwegian- British- Swedish Expedition (NBSX) of 1949-52 and the evolution that followed; (2) Dr. Charles
Bentley (University of Wisconsin) discussing the first of two perspectives on the International Geophysical Year and the evolution that followed; (3) Dr. Richard Cameron discussing the second of two perspectives on the International Geophysical Year
and the evolution that followed; (4) Dr. Friedrich Horz and Dr. Gary Lofgren (NASA Johnson Space Center) discussing the Apollo lunar traverses and the associated planning along with contemporary field tests of NASA equipment and procedures; (5) Dr.
Marie-Claude Williamson (Canadian Space Agency) discussing contemporary science traverses in the Arctic; (6) Dr. Mary Albert (Dartmouth College) discussing contemporary science traverses in the Antarctic; (7) Mr. John Gruener (NASA Johnson Space
Center) discussing NASA's plans for potential traverses on the lunar surface in the next era; and (8) Mr. Johan Berte (International Polar Foundation) providing an overview of the new Belgian Princess Elisabeth Antarctic research station and its
A general recommendation from this workshop is that interaction between these two exploration communities should continue with both informal and more formalized events. Those representing both sides of this interaction (i.e., the
polar traverse community and the planetary surface traverse community) reached a general agreement that there were lessons to be learned by both sides, but there is more work yet to be done to communicate and determine how best to take advantage of
these lessons. Other specific recommendations stemming from these general recommendations and from discussions held by workshop participants include:
1. Annual or biannual workshops to review NASA analogs and National Science Foundation (NSF)
polar activities (emphasis on activities of similar scope/scale); other agencies or organizations would be invited as appropriate. A workshop held in October or April would avoid overlap with the NSF Antarctic season and NASA analog season. Another
option would be to coordinate this event with another major meeting typically attended by one or the other of these exploration communities (examples include the meeting of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) or the SCAR's Standing
Committee on Antarctic Logistics and Operations (SCALOP) Symposium or the annual Earth and Space conference sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
2. Personnel from large government agencies or other organizations, such as
the NSF and NASA, involved in relevant field activities should invite appropriate counterparts to participate in these field activities where possible.
3. Detailed, independent assessments of the operational approaches used by the organizations
represented in this workshop (and similar groups not represented) to understand differentiating factors. Results of these assessments should then be made available to those personnel responsible for developing planetary surface operational concepts
so they can decide what features (if any) used by these other organizations should be incorporated into its current approach to planetary surface exploration.
4. Review historical and current data sets that can be mined for information regarding
logistics, heated volume (as a surrogate for pressurized volume), functional space utilization, energy requirement, etc. that can be used to develop mathematical models for these aspects of a surface mission or traverse. These data could reside with
both governmental and nongovernmental organizations, indicating that contacts should be developed with both organizational types.
5. Review data from "case studies" describing crew skill mix and leadership approach used in polar exploration.
Examples of successful and unsuccessful approaches exist and should be part of this assessment. One primary feature of this assessment could be a set of criteria to be used to determine the appropriate crew mixture of "professional astronaut" and
"professional research scientist", an approximate description of the major skill sets used in polar scientific exploration teams. Continuing this line of reasoning, these results could also be used to determine the skill/training requirements for
these two broad categories of crew members as well as examining the functional requirement implications resulting from this approach to crew make up.
6. Finally, investigate the benefits of joint operations of pertinent surface exploration
activities and advanced systems by large government agencies or other organizations, such as the NSF and NASA. Benefits of this strategy could be: a. Higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL) technology test beds and higher fidelity analog tests for
NASA b. Access to more advanced technologies for "polar" exploration community c. A joint contribution to advancing scientific knowledge and technology state of the art.