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lunar geologists

Based on long-term economic and technological trends, it is likely that lunar bases and related space activities will be a prominent feature of the early 21st century. The lunar-base lab featured here uniquely introduces students to the key elements of lunar geology by immersing them in the excitement of planning humanity’s future on the Moon. Five (or more) candidate sites for a permanent lunar base are evaluated based on a simple scoring system that focuses on science, resource, and operations (SRO) characteristics of each site. The SRO criteria introduce students to cratering, volcanism, landforms, sampling strategies, volatile/mineral potential, sunlight and temperature cycles, orbital access, astronomy plans, and specific geologic units on the Moon. Ultimately, each candidate site receives an SRO numerical ranking. One important result of this exercise is that it stimulates discussions about lunar science in general and its importance for the future exploration and settlement of the Moon. This lab has been very popular with students in introductory college courses in both physical geology and astronomy.