New views of the Moon: Improved understanding through data integration


  • Bradley L. Jolliff,

    1. Washington University, Campus Box 1169, One Brookings Dr., St. Louis, Mo. 63130 USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • L. R. Gaddis,

  • G. Ryder,

  • C. R. Neal,

  • C. K. Shearer,

  • R. C. Elphic,

  • J. R. Johnson,

  • L. P. Keller,

  • R. L. Kerotev,

  • D. J. Lawrence,

  • P. G. Lucey,

  • J. J. Papike,

  • C. M. Pieters,

  • P. D. Spudis,

  • L. A. Taylor


Understanding the Moon is crucial to future exploration of the solar system. The Moon preserves a record of the first billion years of the Earth-Moon systems history, including evidence of the Moons origin as accumulated debris from a giant impact into early Earth. Lunar rocks provide evidence of early differentiation and extraction of a crust.

Lacking an atmospheric shield, the Moon's regolith retains a record of the activity of solar wind over the past 4 billion years. It also holds a complete record of impact cratering, and analysis of samples has allowed calibration of ages, and thus dating of other planetary surfaces. And because of its proximity to Earth, it's low gravity well, and stable surface, the Moon's resources will be useful both in establishing lunar habitations and as fuel for exploration beyond the Moon.