Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Colloquium

Monday, September 18, 2023 at 12:15-1:15

JILA Auditorium

Paul Hayne, CU Boulder

"The New Age of Exploration and Science at the Poles of the Moon"

A Pretty Image from the Talk


More than one hundred years ago, exploration of the Earth's polar regions reached a fever pitch. Competition for the South Pole ultimately led to scientific discoveries whose legacy persists to the present day. Similarly, the poles of the Moon have become a new frontier for science and exploration. Perennial shadows in near-polar craters -- many of them named for famous Antarctic explorers -- remain cold enough, < 100 K, to trap water and other volatiles for billions of years. Where might these volatiles come from? Debate has intensified over the roles of comets, asteroids, solar wind, and the lunar interior. Water also holds great value for human exploration, whether it be used as drinking water or the raw material for rocket fuel. The Moon’s polar ice deposits thus hold immense promise for both scientific understanding and as a resource for deep space exploration. In this talk, I will highlight the importance of the polar regions of the Moon and their links to other planetary bodies where past climates are recorded in ice. I will also describe ongoing observations and upcoming missions to the Moon's polar regions, with emphasis on NASA’s Artemis and related programs.


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