From spatial science to space science


The Moon is proving to be a continuing field of research for Professor Will Featherstone and colleagues.

Extending his previous lunar research, he has now been awarded a valued ARC Discovery Project grant that aims to improve knowledge of the Moon, including its surface processes, interior structure, modification by geological processes, creation and evolution.

This research will be carried out in collaboration with Professor Shin-Chan Han (lead investigator) from The University of Newcastle, NSW, and Assistant Professor Nicholas Schmerr from the University of Maryland, USA.

As the research group has stated, “The Moon preserves the longest and cleanest records of surface geology in the Solar System’s history, unlike the Earth.”

“The lunar crust should exhibit strong heterogeneity in density (both porosity and composition) given its complex history of impact bombardment and volcanism.”

Will added “It is great to see that Australia is investing in space science.”

The project aims to determine radial and lateral heterogeneity in rock density and porosity within the Moon’s crust, by analysing Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) gravity and spacecraft tracking data, Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter topography and in situ seismological data from the Apollo missions to the Moon’s surface.

Will’s previous research involving the Moon saw he and colleagues develop a 1.5km spatial resolution model of the Moon’s gravity field in 2012, and in 2013, they identified 280 new craters on the Moon using a combination of gravity and terrain modelling.