OU researchers engaged in pioneering research on water in Moon rocks returned by Apollo (NASA) missions in the 1960s and 1970, showcased their research through the Living on the Moon! exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in July 2019.
In the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing (20 July), a consortium of five UK institutions led by the OU’s Dr Mahesh Anand, Reader in Planetary Science and Exploration in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) illustrated the journey from Apollo Moon landings, to lunar sample science, to the current generation of landers and rovers looking for water on the Moon. They also looked ahead, to explore how this research may ultimately contribute towards extending the human presence on the Moon over the next 50 years.
Dr Anand said:
“At The Open University we carried out pioneering research for measuring water in Moon rocks, findings which fed into the development of instrumentation to land on the Moon by analysing in situ rock samples drilled from the lunar sub-surface. It is apt that we are celebrating this key milestone during the OU’s 50th anniversary year.”
An approximate 14,000 visitors to the exhibition were able handle real lunar samples and study them using a microscope as well as a virtual microscope used by students in the OU’s Open STEM Laboratory. They also learned about the OU’s leading roles in upcoming new missions to the Moon. These will address outstanding science questions such as the distribution and processing of water on the Moon and will investigate the plausibility and challenges of enabling a sustainable human presence on the Moon through utilisation of local resources.
Living on the Moon! took place from 1 to 7 July at The Royal Society in London.