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NLSI Director's Seminar

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 10:00AM PST, 1:00 PM EST, 18:00 UTC 

Presenter: Carle M. Pieters, Brown University
The Moon: Brimstone to Keystone, Touchstone, and Cornerstone

The Earth and the Moon share a common early origin, but subsequent geologic evolution has led to quite different planetary bodies that reside in the same part of the solar system. A remarkable array of new lunar data acquired by an international armada of spacecraft over the last decade has stimulated a renaissance of inquiries about the character of the Moon and how its properties can be used to truly understand fundamental processes active on and in a planetary body. “The Moon as Cornerstone to the Terrestrial Planets” team of the NASA Lunar Science Institute is jointly hosted by Brown University and MIT faculty who share a long history of science interactions. The NLSI structure has enabled widespread science interactions and spawned active involvement by the next generation of researchers and scientific leaders. Activities range from probing the deep internal dynamo of the ancient Moon to characterizing space weathering processes active on the present surface - all leading to new strategies for human and robotic exploration.

Presenter: David A. Kring, Lunar and Planetary Institute
Discoveries along a Path to a New Age of Science and Exploration

Abstract: Our NLSI team was designed to develop a core, multi-institutional lunar science program that addresses the highest science priorities; provide scientific and technical expertise to NASA that will infuse its lunar research programs, including developing investigations that influence current and future space missions; support the development of a lunar science community that both captures the surviving Apollo experience and trains the next generation of lunar science researchers; and use that core lunar science to develop education and public outreach programs that will energize and capture the imagination of K-14 audiences and the general public.  We have succeeded beyond our proposed expectations.  We dramatically sharpened our understanding of impact bombardment, from the accretional growth of planets to the terminal cataclysm that reshaped the entire solar system c. 3.9 Ga.  The team helped NASA develop mission scenarios (e.g., to Malapert Massif and to the Earth-Moon L2 position), conduct a global survey of lunar landing sites, and identify the most attractive sites for both robotic and human exploration (e.g., Schrödinger basin, SPA basin, and Amundsen crater).  We have also helped field tests of mission scenarios, to both the Moon and NEA, with astronauts and the LER-SEV in the DRATS analog program.