Flexure Engineering is proposing a modification to the CubeSat standard to meet the requirements of lunar missions: longer duration, higher radiation, and more extreme thermal environments compared to Low Earth Orbit missions. The LunarCube standard would also address integration and operational issues of multiple LunarCubes on one ride-along mission or lander.
The proposed standard was discussed in a paper at the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March, 2012. Further discussions will take place at an open forum, the 1st International Workshop on LunarCubes (LunarCubes: The Next Frontier), which is scheduled to take place October 4-6 in Mountain View, California. The proposed workshop schedule includes morning and afternoon sessions on software, electronics, mechanical issues, orbital missions, surface issues, and funding.
Flexure estimates there could be five to ten lunar-lander ride opportunities in the coming decade, based on five national space programs and 25 Google Lunar X-Prize teams. In addition, with weak stability boundary transfers from Geosynchronous Earth Orbit to lunar orbit, every GEO satellite location is a potential starting point for lunar orbit missions.
For more information, see the LunarCubes website.