NASA has announced the names of the researchers who will start the Lunar Science Institute. The seven scientists will head research teams in a number of areas of lunar science, all directed towards making the best use of future lunar exploration. While the engineering work on a new manned spacecraft system is under review, possibly forcing NASA to fall back on existing technology such as Atlas, the creation of a Science Institute is probably a more convincing step in showing the commitment of the US to a return to the Moon.
Carle Pieters of Brown University will head a group investigating the Moon in the context of the early development of Earth, Venus, Mercury and Mars. The scientific and exploration potential of the lunar poles will be investigated by a team led by Ben Bussey ofÂ Johns Hopkins University. David Kring of the Lunar and Planetary Institute will be looking at how impacts were important in the formation of the Moon. The lunar environment will be investigated by William Farrell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. William Bottke, Southwest Research Institute, will lead the team researching the history of impacts on the Moon. Jack Burns, University of Colorado, will head a group with the interesting goal of exploring the cosmos from the Moon. Finally, Mihaly Horanyi, also of University of Colorado, will take charge of the Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies.