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To a Rocky Moon: A Geologist's History of Lunar Exploration

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When human exploration of the lunar surface began in 1969, it marked not only an unprecedented technological achievement but also the culmination of scientific efforts to understand lunar geology. Memoirs of the Apollo astronauts have preserved the exploratory aspects of these missions; now a geologist who was an active participant in the lunar program offers a detailed hi When human exploration of the lunar surface began in 1969, it marked not only an unprecedented technological achievement but also the culmination of scientific efforts to understand lunar geology. Memoirs of the Apollo astronauts have preserved the exploratory aspects of these missions; now a geologist who was an active participant in the lunar program offers a detailed historical view of those events--including the pre-Apollo era--from a heretofore untold scientific perspective. It was the responsibility of the scientific team of which Don Wilhelms was a member to assemble an overall picture of the Moon's structure and history in order to recommend where on the lunar surface fieldwork should be conducted and samples collected. His book relates the site-selection process in detail, and draws in concomitant events concerning mission operations to show how they affected the course of the scientific program. While discussing all six landings in detail, it tells the behind-the-scenes story of telescopic and spacecraft investigations before, during, and after the manned landings. Intended for anyone interested the space program, the history of science, or the application of geology to planetology, To a Rocky Moon will leave all readers with a better idea of what the Moon is really like. In so expertly summarizing this earlier phase of exploration, it stands as an authoritative touchstone for those involved in the next.


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When human exploration of the lunar surface began in 1969, it marked not only an unprecedented technological achievement but also the culmination of scientific efforts to understand lunar geology. Memoirs of the Apollo astronauts have preserved the exploratory aspects of these missions; now a geologist who was an active participant in the lunar program offers a detailed hi When human exploration of the lunar surface began in 1969, it marked not only an unprecedented technological achievement but also the culmination of scientific efforts to understand lunar geology. Memoirs of the Apollo astronauts have preserved the exploratory aspects of these missions; now a geologist who was an active participant in the lunar program offers a detailed historical view of those events--including the pre-Apollo era--from a heretofore untold scientific perspective. It was the responsibility of the scientific team of which Don Wilhelms was a member to assemble an overall picture of the Moon's structure and history in order to recommend where on the lunar surface fieldwork should be conducted and samples collected. His book relates the site-selection process in detail, and draws in concomitant events concerning mission operations to show how they affected the course of the scientific program. While discussing all six landings in detail, it tells the behind-the-scenes story of telescopic and spacecraft investigations before, during, and after the manned landings. Intended for anyone interested the space program, the history of science, or the application of geology to planetology, To a Rocky Moon will leave all readers with a better idea of what the Moon is really like. In so expertly summarizing this earlier phase of exploration, it stands as an authoritative touchstone for those involved in the next.

43 review for To a Rocky Moon: A Geologist's History of Lunar Exploration

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amandayvonne

    The writer is filled with rightful angst for at the time of it's publication, the limited photos from the Apollo era were the only solid coverage of the moon. It is my understanding that there is now a high definition lunar orbiter and 100% photo coverage of the moon. I would be interested in the author's opinion of related new advancements. Question of volcanism/impact does not seem satisfyingly answered in this book. Could all volcanism have been the result of impact melting or were there proc The writer is filled with rightful angst for at the time of it's publication, the limited photos from the Apollo era were the only solid coverage of the moon. It is my understanding that there is now a high definition lunar orbiter and 100% photo coverage of the moon. I would be interested in the author's opinion of related new advancements. Question of volcanism/impact does not seem satisfyingly answered in this book. Could all volcanism have been the result of impact melting or were there processes, say radioactive decay, which could have heated up material enough for it's own site-limited melting to form more traditional volcanoes?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    This is the book that lies at the intersection of Geology Nerd Avenue and Apollo Geek Lane.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steve Van Slyke

    As someone who minored in geology in college but never used it professionally, I loved it. It's amazing how much they were able to deduce before the landings and the level of detail that they went to make geologic maps based on the knowledge gained from all six landings. The view into the political side of moon geology was also interesting. It whetted my appetite for the results of the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) mission, and hopefully future manned missions to continue the geologic study As someone who minored in geology in college but never used it professionally, I loved it. It's amazing how much they were able to deduce before the landings and the level of detail that they went to make geologic maps based on the knowledge gained from all six landings. The view into the political side of moon geology was also interesting. It whetted my appetite for the results of the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) mission, and hopefully future manned missions to continue the geologic study of the moon.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Converse

    A wittily written history of how our knowledge of the moon's geology was learned, largely focused on Apollo missions. Makes a good case that in this area the Apollo missions added more to our scientific knowledge than is generally thought. The book would benefit from a good set of moon maps, a glossary of geological terms, and a bit more background for the non-geologist.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gert-Jan

    Incredibly well-written account on the geophysical challenges/researches during the Apollo era. In my top 5 of Apollo books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    DAVID HENSLEY

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Harstad

  8. 5 out of 5

    E.P. Shirleyjack

  9. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Lee

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shoshana

  11. 4 out of 5

    Teemu Öhman

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jraptor

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kurt

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rob Millenaar

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Hollingsworth

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

  19. 5 out of 5

    Forrest Horton

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alli

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maark Jensen

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Stuby

  23. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Quail

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Bottleman

  26. 5 out of 5

    Trevis

  27. 5 out of 5

    Squiddite

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  29. 5 out of 5

    Constantine

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

  31. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

  32. 5 out of 5

    James Attwood

  33. 5 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  34. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  35. 5 out of 5

    Rashonda Stubblefield

  36. 5 out of 5

    Zach Musselman

  37. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  38. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  39. 4 out of 5

    Mikkel

  40. 4 out of 5

    Chase

  41. 4 out of 5

    Kriti Bhardwaj

  42. 4 out of 5

    Liam Townsend

  43. 4 out of 5

    Steve

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