Three local NASA-funded DEVELOP scholars are currently developing maps of the moon. The presidential call for a return to the Moon has drawn the attention of three local students, who are using GIS to construct a detailed map of the polar regions of the moon, where human outposts are expected to be built in 2020 and beyond. The three scholars recently attended the Space Frontier Foundation’s “Return to the Moon VI” conference in the Nevada desert. While at the conference, students met with nearly 30 experts from NASA and several commercial business leaders, including The Boeing Co. and Caterpillar, Inc., who are devoted to advancing permanent human settlement on the moon and exploitation of its mineral resource wealth.
The student selenologists – scientists who study the moon – are building an on-line database of lunar imagery, lunar topography, crater and mountain identification labels, and proposed human habitat sites near the north and south poles of the moon where frozen water deposits have been discovered. The three have started networking with science experts to build the lunar database LunarGIS.com. The Web site, which gives the public access to the beta moon maps, should be available in several months. They are gathering corporate, academic and foundation support for the highly futuristic lunar mapping project. The DEVELOP scholars hope the LunarGIS project will be of such significant research quality that they may be called upon to make presentations at future science and academic conferences devoted to lunar exploration and analysis.