This is not a NASA Website. You might learn something. It's YOUR space agency. Get involved. Take it back. Make it work - for YOU.
Space & Planetary Science

Lunar Science Conference Notes

By Keith Cowing
July 21, 2008

NLSI Lunar Science Conference, 20- 23 Jul NASA ARC

Editor’s Note: I was going to try and live blog and make Twitter posts from this conference but the free WiFi never works and the building where the meeting is held seems to block commercial EVDO signals. I might try again tomorrow.

Andy Chaikin: Talking about larger social ramifications of Apollo program. The effect that live TV had on the people of Earth. The moon is a wtiness to the early history of the solar system and it is right in our own back yard. Impact events may well have affected the origin and evolution of life on Earth. The moon was revealed by exploration to be a place of spectacular beauty. It is the ony world in the solar system where we can stand and look back at our own place in the solar system. When we do go back I want us to remember what we got the first time and that when we look back at our world we see it for what it is. The moon, as a magnet for exploration, has shown us what we can become.

Paul Spudis: presenting a retrospective on the VSE.

Q: (Small-minded) question suggested that humans cannot live on the moon without support from the Earth. A: Spudis does not agree.

Jennifer Heldman: (at press conference) Question regarding video submission of question for Gen Y panel last night: There were 12 submissions and 400 hits to those videos.

Steve Mackwell (at press conference) looking at exploration in a broader sense at the LPI. I see LPI as being complementary with the new LSI which has a broader purview. The LSI approach to using broad teams aproaching broad themes is agood one. As for the 500 attendees. I did not know that there that many lunar scientists around! Between LPI and LSI will see a broad collabroation.

Mike Wargo: Common question – what do you do as Chief Lunar Scientist?. My answer: I am the utility infielder for ESMD ans serve to tie together ESMD and the science community.

What is new in ESMD? How will we affect things that are done on the moon? How are exploration and science working. We used to hear “exploration or science” when we first started this. One of the first things I did was to change that to “exploration and science”.

Innovative technologies infrastructure. Developing a variety of things for ESMD missiosn that will facilitate enhanced science. Lunar surface suit and capabilites will have a major impact on the ability to to do high quality lunar science. Development of light weight composite structures – hopefully that will flow into increased capabilities for science. Lander ability to support long duration missions – allow additional science to be accomplished. Analog tets at Moses Lake for mobility concepts yielded interesting results.

Greg Schmidt: We do have plans to reach out to the amateur astronomy community. Earlier comment about NAI as a rainmaker: one of the things I helpd David Morrison with is a series of community-based initiaitves.

David Morrison – Lunar Science Institute (LSI). We want to use the moon as the core location for science. We want to catalize lunar science conference and support the next generation of scientists. Have had a wonderful response to our Cooperative Agreement Notice. I suspect that everyone who is interested in the moon is part of a proposal team. We want team players – teams that are multidisciplinar – teams that are committed to work together. We are going to focus on the research and training aspects of lunar missions. LSI is a very small organization. 4 FTEs – Myself, Greg Schmidt, Shirley Berthold, and Doris Dow (EPO).

Q: Where does ISRU (in situ resource utilization) and missions fit in? There is lots of overlap between these things and science. David Morrison: Jim Green and I should think of a good response. There is no firm dividing line. But our (LSI) budgets will not allow people to support either missins or development.

Q: Stability of funding – NASA likes to start things but it is another things to support them. Jim Green: “If I were a betting man I would say that the lunar program is here to stay.”

Q: It is great that we have a lot of missions on the manfiest but there should be more before we send people back to the moon. David Morrison: “we hear you”.

Q; LSI was modeled after the Astrobiology Institute (NAI) Morrison: When we started NAI we did not know if it was going to survive from one year to the next. I would hope LSI is successful in the same way that NAI turned out to be. There will be grants of $1-2 million per team per year – similar to what NAI did.

Q: Role of amateur astronomers in LSI? Morrison: yes, there will be. “The moon is “hot” – or “cool” – depending on what your generation is”.

Pete Worden: This is going to open a new era of understanding – learning how we can live on another world. Unlike the last time we went to the moon, everybody is gong to the moon this time. There are at least a dozen proposals out there from different countries to go to the moon. It is our job to build and then expand the ability to make use of the science that can be done there – and to expand upon the science and the scientific community. It is important to recall that many of these young people were not even alive the last time we went to the Moon.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.