Preparing Future Scientists to Explore the Moon

Cape canaveral

To prepare the next explorers of the lunar surface, scientists from NASA decided to find the conditions on the Earth that are at least somehow similar to lunar ones. Few spots for training were found. So, in October 2018, a group of international students went to Barringer Meteorite Crater, or ‘Meteor Crater’, AZ, to get ready for different NASA missions. They were learning to work with both human and robotic missions.

The training program for students was created by a space research scientist from Lunar and Planetary Institute – Dr. David Kring. Now, the postdoctoral researchers and graduates that are studying the impact craters of located on our planet or the Moon or anywhere in space will have instruction and proper training. Dr. Kring has trained astronauts from Apollo missions before, so he can use his numerous years of experience to train the next explorers of the lunar surface.

For one week, the students were learning the processes of impact craters and the geology behind it. Also, the training program took place in the crater, so the students were able to assist during the research. The Meteor Crater was a model of the typical craters that can be found on the lunar surface. This crater was a great training platform for Apollo astronauts.

After the completion of the research and training project, 16 students marked out the allocation of the detritus from the crater created by the impacted asteroid. The type of rocks and their scattering are typical to the situation on the lunar surface, and astronauts are collecting those sample rocks to bring them back to Earth to study.

The students on this program were chosen from some of the Universities in the US (TX, MO, AZ, AL, NJ) Canada, United Kingdom, and Belgium.

This is not the first training program supported by NASA. There were 5 similar programs starting from 2010, giving an opportunity to more than a hundred students to participate and develop their skills. This is an important program for NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, which is also a common platform for Lunar and Planetary Institute and Johnson Space Center to create and develop training and research projects together. Barringer Crater Company and Meteor Crater Enterprises made this project possible by their sponsorship and generous contribution.