Towards a Lunar Open Architecture: facilitating transparency and collaboration in the new era of lunar exploration

M. Sarang, C. Robinson, A. Ekblaw, J. Guglin, Towards a Lunar Open Architecture: facilitating transparency and collaboration in the new era of lunar exploration. IAC-20-D3.1.2, 71st International Astronautical Congress, 12 – 14 October, 2020.


Stakeholder diversity in the space industry is rapidly increasing as a proliferation of different countries and private entities propose and participate in near and midterm lunar missions. Previously, lunar missions were feasible only for large governments and collaboration was facilitated through high-level, top-down agreements and large, static roadmaps developed by organizations or institutional committees. These architectures struggle to evolve apace with new developments and this short life cycle prevents them from serving as a functional resource for the dynamic, emerging space economy.

In this new era of lunar exploration, information sharing will need to reflect the rapidly evolving nature of the industry, reflecting and empowering organic coordination between stakeholders. Collaboration will also be imperative to cultivate a sustainable and peaceful lunar future. To that end, we are developing an open lunar missions and technology architecture – a curated, dynamic, and interactive resource to unify existing lunar exploration roadmaps and extend them into the 21st century. With this knowledge-sharing tool and associated participation network, we aim to motivate dozens or even hundreds of lunar actors to work together and facilitate information sharing. Meanwhile, the Lunar Open Architecture (LOA) tool can help ensure that lunar infrastructure projects are developed in a way that optimizes shared value in an efficient actor landscape by identifying opportunities for collaboration and reducing redundant efforts. This will help to minimize risks and costs among all participating lunar stakeholders.

In this paper, we present the beta-launch of LOA with two rounds of industry input, a detailed database populated with past, current and projected lunar missions, and an extensive visualization suite for generating and mining insights. We then discuss opportunities and potential roadblocks to the utility of such a tool, considering how networked technologies may facilitate new forms of participation and information sharing in the industry.

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