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Back to the Moon: This Time to Stay?

NASA is going back to the Moon, this time with commercial and international partners that will help us explore faster and explore more. After successful efforts to commercialize low-Earth orbit, there’s a renewed commitment to this new effort, which calls for the partnership to launch and operate a new space station, the Gateway. The Gateway will first explore the Moon from above and put men and women on the surface by 2024.


To celebrate this endeavor and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk, the SETI Institute has organized two summer talks about this ambitious program, officially known as Artemis.


The first will take place on June 26. Greg Schmidt, Director of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), and Michael Sims, CEO, and founder of Ceres Robotics will present this first talk.


Greg leads NASA’s lunar exploration research program and will give us an update on Artemis. Michael, an expert on AI and robotic exploration, will describe the activities of Ceres Robotics in the exploration of the Moon and the understanding of its geology and surface properties. After a short presentation, both speakers will participate in a discussion about the past, present, and future of lunar exploration moderated by David Morrison, Senior Scientist at SSERVI and former director of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute.


Join us to find out how, after 50 years, we are going to go back to the moon. 


Greg Schmidt serves as Director of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), located at NASA Ames Research Center. SSERVI links competitively selected science teams across the nation, working together to help lead research activities related to lunar exploration goals. SSERVI research includes studies of the Moon (including lunar samples), from the Moon (using the Moon as an observational platform) and on the Moon (studies related to a human return to the Moon). Previously, Greg served as Associate Director for Strategic Planning in the NASA Ames Research Center Science Directorate, where he was responsible for a wide variety of tasks. He was a member of the core team that developed the science of astrobiology in the late 1990s. He led the team that developed the first Astrobiology Roadmap and served (along with David Morrison) as its co-editor. Greg is an Associate Fellow with the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for his work in astrobiology and life sciences and has received NASA Group Achievement awards for the development of the Space Tech Center, Astrobiology, the Spacelab-J mission, the Spacelab Life Sciences-1 mission, and the Leonids Multi-Aircraft Campaign, among others. He holds a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology from U.C. San Diego, a B.S. in Physics from U.C. Davis, and has done additional postgraduate study and research at the U.C. Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, where he specialized in Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS). 


Michael Sims is the CEO and founder of a new space startup, Ceres Robotics Inc., that is in the business of building robots for the construction of facilities and habitats on the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and beyond. Michael's career has been devoted to using AI and robotics to enable exploration and to support humans becoming a multi-planetary species. He was previously vice president at Moon Express, and for more than twenty years worked at NASA on Mars rover missions. Michael was a founding member of the NASA Ames Artificial Intelligence group and its field robotics program, the Intelligent Robotics Group. He was previously the chief agent for Automation, Robotics, and Human Factors for NASA's Office of Exploration, which had responsibility for planning all human missions below low-Earth orbit.


David Morrison is the Senior Scientist of the new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), located in the NASA Ames Research Center. The Lunar Science Institute will link competitively selected science teams across the nation working together to help lead the research activities related to lunar exploration goals. SSERVI research includes studies of the Moon (including lunar samples), from the Moon, and/or on the Moon. David also continues as the Senior Scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute, where he participates in a variety of research programs in astrobiology — the study of the living universe. From 1996-2001 he was the Director of Astrobiology and Space Research at Ames, managing research programs in the space, life, and earth sciences. David was previously the director of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the California Academy of Sciences. He chaired the 1991 NASA study of impact hazards that recommended that a Spaceguard Survey be carried out to search for potentially threatening asteroids and comets, and in 1995 he received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for this work. In 1996 NASA awarded him a second Outstanding Leadership Medal for his contributions to the Galileo mission to Jupiter and its satellites. He has served as Councilor of the American Astronomical Society, Chair of the Division for Planetary Science of the American Astronomical Society, President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Chair of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and both President of Commission 16 (Planets and Satellites) and of the Working Group on Near Earth Objects of the International Astronomical Union. He is a recipient of the Dryden Medal for research of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Sagan Medal of the American Astronomical Society for public communication, and the Klumpke-Roberts award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for contributions to science education. Asteroid 2410 Morrison is named in his honor.