December 31, 2019

Dr. G’s #AGU19 Spotlight – The Future of Lunar and Mars Exploration

Posted by Laura Guertin

The 2019 AGU Fall Meeting was a busy one for me. The week was overwhelming, engaging, exciting, innovative, celebratory with AGU 100, and rounded out with me coming down with the sickness that many of us named on Twitter as the “AGU flu.” Not blogging as much as I would have liked during the meeting has allowed me to come back home and reflect upon some highlights that I really want to share, including this particular talk.

NASA Chief Scientist Dr. James Green spoke on the Inspire Stage in Centennial Central on The Future of Lunar and Mars Exploration. Even though I don’t teach planetary science, I do go over the formation of the Earth in my Earth science courses, and my students always have questions about space and space exploration, so I thought I could learn a few things about the current and future plans NASA has in store.

The talk was fascinating and held my attention the entire hour. Hearing the latest on the formation of the Moon, and that NASA plans to colonize the Moon before even attempting Mars, was so relevant and something I will definitely be sharing with students.

Fortunately, AGU has recorded many of the Union sessions and made them available in YouTube. I encourage you to view Dr. Green’s talk and to be inspired by NASA’s future plans for the Moon, Mars, and for the first man and woman team to head to the Moon.


If you do not have time to view the talk, here is Dr. Green’s abstract:

Based on analysis of the Apollo lunar samples, scientists believe that the Moon was formed out of a collision between the Earth with a Mars sized planet named Theia at a very early stage of the development of the solar system. From then on, the Earth and the Moon’s evolution have been intertwined. The Moon has kept the Earth’s rotational axis pointing in the same direction providing a significant level of stability for the Earth’s climate. Today, the Moon holds many fascinating mysteries for scientists to explore. Scientifically there has been a number of stunning advances in lunar science and a realization that going back to the Moon will provide scientists with the opportunity to accomplish transformational science in understanding the origin and evolution of our solar system. NASA’s future plan is to go to the Moon to stay and then onto Mars.


Sessions like this, where one doesn’t have to be a space scientist at an Earth and space conference to understand, are an excellent example of science communication at its best. I look forward to sharing this video with my non-STEM students and colleagues, to answer their questions and further discussion about NASA’s future explorations of the Moon and Mars.