ANU is celebrating the awarding of NASA’s Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award to their Professor Ross Taylor.
Professor Taylor of the Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES) said he was delighted to receive the award.
“What it tells you is that you’re actually on the right track. I’m particularly honoured because I knew Gene Shoemaker quite well. He and his wife often stayed with us on their visits to Australia to map impact craters. Gene became famous because he established that the craters on the Moon are due to meteorite impact, not to some sort of internal volcanic explosion,” he said.
In 1969 Professor Taylor was the lead scientist running the laboratory that analysed the first rock samples from the Moon.
“I happened to be in Houston visiting one of my friends. One day NASA management said, ‘We would like you to run our spectrographic laboratory to analyse the rocks from the Moon.’ It took every bit of knowledge and expertise I had accumulated in the previous 15 years, because the samples were very tricky and just different enough from the Earth to make life difficult for the analyst. But it was a big highlight in my career.”