European Lunar Science

Way back when I had a job at the Natural History Museum, London studying Calcium Aluminium-rich Inclusions (CAIs), in various types of meteorites. The oldest dated Solar System materials, CAIs are fascinating objects and it was exciting work. My boss back then was Robert Hutchison, an inspirational scientist, who is greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of working with him. One day Bob invited me for lunch at a local pub to meet his guest visitor Dr Charles Meyer. At the time Dr Meyer was the curator of lunar samples at the Johnson Space Centre. Lunch was fun and at one point Dr Meyer asked me if I was interested in studying lunar rocks? He said that if I was, why not put together a decent proposal and there would be no problem getting some material for me to work on. It seemed that, at the time, research on lunar rocks was at a low ebb. We had been to the Moon; seen it; done it! Unfortunately, I didn’t take up his offer; those CAI’s just kept me too busy!


(image: NASA)

But in terms of lunar research how things have changed!

On 15th and 16th May the second European Lunar Symposium has held at the Natural History Museum, London and organised jointly by Dr. Mahesh Anand and Professor Sara Russell. Over 40 talks, plus posters, were given during the two day meeting, covering a broad range of lunar science topics. Remote sensing studies, sample analysis results, lunar geophysics and future mission proposals all featured prominently. The breadth of the topics discussed and the enthusiasm of the speakers clearly demonstrates that, from a European perspective, lunar science is in very good health. My own sad duty at the conference was to present our talk on the oxygen isotope analysis of lunar soils and rocks, which was originally to have been given by Professor Colin Pillinger. Colin, who died suddenly just before the meeting, was a vigorous champion of lunar research and would certainly have been impressed by the vitality of current European lunar science in evidence at the London meeting.

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