***This lecture will take place online, Friends of the RAS will be sent a link to register via Eventbrite***
The Moon’s pull on our imagination is unrivalled, as best demonstrated by the Apollo programme. Fifty years on, humanity now stands at the cross-roads of technological advancement and scientific knowledge, ushering in a new era of robotic space exploration.
The Moon is becoming a favourite target for established and emerging space-faring nations and commercial entities. In addition to national pride and scientific curiosity the renaissance in lunar exploration is driven by an increased realisation of the Moon as a technology testbed for exploring more distant bodies such as Mars and asteroids.
Furthermore, the possibility of utilising the Moon and its constituents as resources for sustaining an extended presence on its surface has heralded an era of 'New Space' by attracting private and commercial bodies towards lunar exploration.
Our vision of the future sees a sustainable presence of humans based on the lunar surface. For this, the natural resources present there must be exploited and utilised. Research that describes the nature of the body also has the capacity to provide the technological basis for Living on the Moon!
Professor Mahesh Anand is a Professor of Planetary Science and Exploration at The Open University, UK. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK in 2001 and subsequently worked as a researcher at the University of Tennessee, USA and at the Natural History Museum in London before joining the OU in 2005.
Mahesh’s research work has spanned geological studies of ancient igneous terrains on Earth to diamonds to lunar, Martian and other meteoritic samples. His recent research has focussed on understanding the history of volatiles in lunar samples, specifically, the abundance, distribution and source(s) of water in the lunar interior.
Mahesh has supervised over 30 PhD students and postdocs and has published over 100 research papers in journals of high-scientific standing. His other research interests include application of scientific knowledge derived from fundamental research to inform planetary exploration programmes.
Mahesh currently chairs the UK-node of the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) comprising of over 100 members from 15 UK higher education institutions.