2021 Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group

The 2021 Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) was held virtually from August 31–September 2, 2021. The theme of this year’s annual meeting was “Lunar Science and Exploration in the Next Five Years.”

Over 200 attendees participated in the meeting across the U.S. and internationally. The meeting featured updates from NASA Headquarters, current and planned lunar missions from the U.S. (Artemis and PRISM) and several other countries, Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) providers, and others. Several contributed sessions were held, focusing on highlights from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, lunar science and exploration goals, future lunar assets and concepts regarding science and technology, and future lunar sample analysis assets and concepts.

The meeting also engaged and showcased the early-career lunar community by inviting a presentation from the Lunar Next Generation Scientists and Engineers group and holding a Featured Early Career Presentation, given by Dr. Liam Morrissey. A virtual networking session was held on day 2 using Gathertown, which hosted several meet-and-greets and focused breakout discussions for the community.

The LEAG Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) chair gave additional featured presentations, followed by a presentation discussing issues relating to planetary nomenclature. A virtual Bystander Intervention workshop preceded the LEAG meeting. Bystander intervention is an evidence-based framework intended to reduce the burden of protecting oneself from harassment and shift the responsibility to the community. This program was developed and given by scientists to increase peer-to-peer anti-harassment efforts and positive culture changes. This year’s LEAG meeting introduced a new award, the LEAG Service Award, for exemplary service to LEAG and the lunar community through excellence in leadership, continuous dedication to mentoring, and enriching the early-career community. The inaugural 2021 LEAG Service Award was given to Dr. Wendell Mendell and Dr. Clive Neal.

Findings were drafted regarding a variety of topics such as Artemis; EDI; science priorities; surface, orbital, and sample analysis assets, missions, and infrastructure; and collaboration, engagement, and communication. Once finalized and approved, all findings will be posted on the LEAG website.

To view the program, abstracts, and presentations, visit the workshop website at https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/leag2021/.

— Text provided by Erica Jawin (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History) and Amy Fagan (Western Carolina University)