[FPSPACE] Public opinion and the Moon

kosmos327 at aol.com kosmos327 at aol.com
Fri Jul 17 22:27:46 EDT 2009

I know that only a few people read Ed's posts - 

With all due respect ... that statement is at best an exaggeration, and at worse a lie. 


David L. Rickman

-----Original Message-----
From: David Portree <dsfportree at hotmail.com>
To: epgrondine at hotmail.com; fpspace at friends-partners.org
Sent: Fri, Jul 17, 2009 3:27 pm
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Public opinion and the Moon

I think that the conclusions Ed is drawing with regards to my job description probably say a great deal about the conclusions he draws re: terrestrial impacts.
I know that only a few people read Ed's posts - I hadn't intended to open the one below. However, in case anyone has read them and is confused by his speculations, here's clarification.
I have almost nothing to do with Meteor Crater, except insofar as Gene Shoemaker and David Roddy did cratering research as part of their Astrogeology activities and some of their records connected with that research have ended up in my facility.
"Astrogeology," a term coined by Gene Shoemaker in about 1960, means more or less the same thing as planetary science. The subtle difference would be that our emphasis is almost entirely on geology, not particles & fields or atmospheric processes, though of course there's some crossover. We've hung onto the label jus' 'cause we wanna.
USGS Astrogeology has produced around a thousand published maps since 1960, plus many others for internal NASA use. We produced the maps the Apollo astronauts used to find thei
r way around their landing sites. The Apollo 17 "fender map" was one of ours. As part of my job, I'm custodian of an inventory of around 30,000 lunar and planetary maps. I also distribute new maps to researchers around the world as we produce them.
We are involved in the scientific exploration of the Solar System. The PI for the microscopic imager on the MERs is two doors down from my facility. Our MER Ops room, where commands are written for the imager, is right outside my facility's back door. Other people on staff are or were involved in LRO, MRO, MGS, Cassini, Magellan, Voyager, Galileo, Viking, Mariners 4, 6, 7, and 9, Lunar Orbiter, Ranger, Surveyor, MESSENGER, NEAR Shoemaker, Pioneer Venus, Soviet Luna and Venera missions, Mars Express, and many others. We led the Mariner 9 TV team, thereby pioneering how one does imaging during long-term planetary missions.
Jack Schmitt worked in Flagstaff at USGS Astrogeology before he joined NASA. We also carried out most of the geologic training for the Apollo astronauts and a lot of work to prepare for AAP advanced piloted moon missions. Of course, the latter never got off the ground, but our preparations generated a lot of cool images. 
Over the years, many documents, photographs, and films related to USGS Astrogeology's work have ended up in my facility. I'm currently organizing them, getting them into proper archival storage, converting films to digital formats, and putting together databases which we will put online so that people 
both inside and outside Astrogeology can see what we have. 
It's a "ginormous" task, as my daughter's sitters would say. I don't know whether I'll ever "finish" it, though I hope to unveil a sizable portion of what we have by 2011, the Apollo 15/Mariner 9 anniversary year.

David S. F. Portree

dsfportree at hotmail.com
dportree at usgs.gov

From: epgrondine at hotmail.com
To: fpspace at friends-partners.org
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2009 11:47:16 -0500
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Public opinion and the Moon

Hello Morris - 

The key question that NEVER gets asked of the public is whether they want their space money spent on finding the next piece of sh--tuff from space before it hits and kills a lot of people.

Why those who conduct these polls do this reflects social processes.

E.P. Grondine
Man and Impact in the Americas

PS - Why is Shoemaker's work on impact craters being called "astrogeology"? Of course, since impact is the dominant process nearly everywhere else in the solar system, I suppose it is appropriate somehow. It's more certainly mor elegant than "craterology".

David then works as an archivist for impact research done at Barringer Crater.

I also see that Dwayne Day is heading up the NRC study team on the asteroid impact hazard to the Earth. I wonder if they them study comet impact as well. 

In any case, most of the work on recent impacts may be found 
in the Cambridge Conference archives until 1997-2003. The definitive survey of recent impacts in the Americas (and thus the best hazard estimate based on the recent record) is of course my book "Man and Impact in the Americas". 

So David and Dwayne - from the evidence of employment, the paradigm is shifting.

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