Trip to the Moon and the Legacy of Apollo
09/30/2003 4:00 PM BartosThe Honorable Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo astronaut, scientist, former U.S. Senator; Description: 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. 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.About the Speaker(s): Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt possesses a remarkably diverse biography. He studied at Caltech, as a Fulbright Scholar at Oslo, and at Harvard, receiving his Ph.D. in geology in 1964. Schmitt trained as an Air Force jet pilot in 1965 and received Navy helicopter wings in 1967. Selected for the Scientist-Astronaut program in 1965, Schmitt organized the lunar science training for the Apollo Astronauts and served as lunar module pilot for Apollo 17. In 1972, he was the only scientist and the last of the 12 men to walk on the Moon. In 1975, Schmitt became a U.S. Senator for his home state of New Mexico, a position he held through 1982. He later served on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Committee and the President's Commission on Ethics Law Reform.
Today, Harrison Schmitt consults, speaks, and writes on business, public, and governmental initiatives, particularly in the fields of space, risk, geology, energy, technology, and policy issues of the future. He also contributes nonfiction articles on space and the American Southwest to numerous books and magazines. He is a member of the Independent Strategic Assessment Group for the U.S. Air Force Phillips Laboratory. Schmitt's corporate board memberships include Orbital Sciences Corporation and the Draper Laboratory.Host(s): School of Engineering, Department of Aeronautics and AstronauticsTape #: T17519.
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