NASA and its partners in academia, industry, and the international community are examining options for a new era of robotic and human exploration using the Orion vehicle and other new assets that are being developed for missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 flew successfully in December 2014. Orion Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) and Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2) will carry the vehicle to the vicinity of the Moon.
Concepts for human-assisted lunar sample return missions and human-assisted asteroid sample return missions are being developed for subsequent Orion flights. The international community, as part of The Global Exploration Roadmap, also envisions humans to the lunar surface around 2028.
This summer, students will be involved in activities that support missions to both the Moon and near-Earth asteroids. It is a unique opportunity to integrate scientific input with exploration activities in a way that mission architects and spacecraft engineers can use. Activities may involve assessments and traverse plans for a particular destination (e.g., on the lunar farside) or a more general assessment of a class of possible exploration targets (e.g., small near-Earth asteroids).
The Exploration Science Summer Intern Program builds on the success of the Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program that was designed to evaluate possible landing sites on the Moon for robotic and human exploration missions. Over a five year period (2008–2012), teams of students worked with Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) science staff and their collaborators to produce A Global Lunar Landing Site Study to Provide the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon. The program for 2016 is designed to have the same impact on future exploration activities, but has a broader scope that includes both the Moon and near-Earth asteroids.
This program is open to graduate students in geology, planetary science, planetary astronomy, and related programs. The 10-week program runs from May 23, 2016 through July 29, 2016. Selected interns will receive a $5,675 stipend to cover the costs associated with being in Houston for the duration of the program. Additionally, U.S. citizens will receive up to $1,000 in travel expense reimbursement and foreign nationals will receive up to $1,500 in travel expense reimbursement.
The LPI is adjacent to NASA's Johnson Space Center. The Johnson Space Center is home to the human exploration program and the integrated robotic and human systems that are being designed to push exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
The Exploration Science Summer Intern Program is supported by funding from the LPI and the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute at NASA Ames Research Center.