Earth-Moon Relationships in the spot-light
2 November 2000Galilean Academy celebrates 400 years with conference on Earth-Moon relations and space explorationAn International Conference on Earth-Moon relationships will take place in Padova from 8 to10 November 2000. This is part of an interdisciplinary initiative celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Galilean Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts in Padova (Accademia Galileiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti). The conference will open in the Aula Magna of the historic University palace.
"Our aim is to bring together not only a number of distinguished scientists from different fields of Natural Sciences --such as Astronomy, Biology and Medicine, Chemistry and Geology, says conference organiser Prof. Cesare Barbieri, to discuss these Earth-Moon relationships and their origins."
A most prestigious speaker at the conference will be David R. Scott, who after his Gemini 8 and Apollo 9 experience, became Apollo 15 commander and walked and drove on the Moon in August 1971. He will talk on the "Perspective on the Earth from the Moon."
The European Space Agency (ESA), co-sponsoring the conference, will present SMART-1, the first of the so called SMART missions - conceived to test new technologies in space that, by a happy coincidence, is the first European mission to the Moon. "The SMART-1 mission will be launched at the end of 2002., says SMART-1 Project Manager Giuseppe Racca, " and will test new ways of propulsion and navigation in the solar system. It will also carry new technology instruments to the Moon and obtain unique maps of the lunar surface composition, topography and resources.
SMART-1 will help understanding the origin and early evolution of the Earth-Moon system, 4.5 billion years ago, adds Bernard H. Foing (SMART-1 Project Scientist). We also use the Moon as a laboratory to study geophysical processes (volcanism, tectonics, crater impacts, ices and volatiles) at work on Earth and other planets". "We are in an exciting phase of international exploration, starting now with orbiter and penetrators precursor missions, to be followed by landers, rovers, lunar robotic villages for resource utilisation. This prepares the possibility for permanent human presence on the Moon and in the Solar System".
This roadmap for exploration was discussed last summer at the International Conference on Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon organised by ESA and the International Lunar Exploration Working Group. Some 200 participants made recommendations for the next steps in scientific, technical, programmatic areas, and decided to create a Lunar Explorers Society to foster these goals with the public.
"The Padova Earth-Moon relationships conference will certainly expand the activities of Lunar Explorers and, with the participation of scholars of Literature and Arts, will include the humanistic, social, historical, cultural and mythical dimensions", concludes Cesare Barbieri.
Note to editors: Media are invited to attend the whole conference at no cost. A Press Conference will take place the 7th of November at 12.30 in the Sala Gruppi, Palace of the Mayor of the City of Padova.
The conference will be attended by David R. Scott (Apollo 15 Commander), Dr. Bernard H. Foing (SMART-1 Project Scientist, ESA), Prof Cesare Barbieri (Dept. of Astronomy, University of Padova), Prof. Massimo Calvani (Director of Astronomical Observatory of Padova), Prof. Carle Pieters and Prof. James Head III (Planetary Scientists, representing NASA).
For further information, please contact:
Prof. Cesare Barbieri,
Dept. of Astronomy, University of Padova
Vicolo Osservatorio 5, I-35122 Padova (Italy)
Dr. Bernard H. Foing, SMART-1 Project scientist, ILEWG past-president
ESA Space Science Dept.
Tel: +31 71 565 5647,
Fax: +31 71 565 4697,
ESA Communication Dept.
Media Relations Office
Tel: +33(0)1 53 69 71 55
Fax: +33(0)1 53 69 76 90