Trip to the Moon and the Legacy of Apollo

author: Harrison Schmitt, Fusion Technology Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison
published: July 24, 2013,   recorded: September 2003,   views: 2112

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Thirty years after he served on the final Apollo mission, Harrison Schmitt has turned once more to the moon – as a critical resource for scientists and as a potential source of unlimited clean energy. In this AeroAstro event he shows NASA footage of his moon walks, as he and Eugene Cernan contend with low gravity to collect soil and rocks. These samples have enriched three decades of research on the origins of our solar system and even life on earth.

Schmitt, a geologist by training, collected orange glass-like material from the Grand Canyon-sized Valley of Taurus-Littrow, one of the many enormous impact craters pocking the moon—a similar cratering period on earth billions of years ago left deposits of clay minerals that may have catalyzed the synthesis of the first organic molecules—the beginning of life. Some moon rocks have registered abundant amounts of helium 3. Recent experiments on this form of helium suggest it might prove to be a source of radiation-free, fusion-generated energy. Schmitt believes that private investors, tantalized by the possibility of mining the moon, will usher in a new era of lunar exploration.

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