While a political push to reorient American space exploration efforts back to a return to the moon is just starting, it seems that there is a growing consensus among many scientists that the moon is the key to exploring space throughout the solar system. According to a December 23, 2013 story in Space.com, a group called the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG), chartered by NASA Headquarters to assist in planning the scientific exploration of the moon, have started a letter writing campaign to members of Congress to highlight the importance of lunar exploration.
The campaign, called “Destination Moon,” offers the following arguments about the value of a return to the moon. “from opening the gateway to the solar system, pioneering development of new technologies, as well as advancing economic expansion, enabling new scientific discoveries and promoting international partnerships.”
There has been a renewed interest in exploring the moon, thanks to the Chinese Chang’e 3 probe that landed the Jade Rabbit rover on the lunar surface. Since 2010, however, it has NASA has largely foresworn the moon for exploration under a presidential directive to instead focus on Earth approaching asteroids.