March 9, 2018
Although we may not think of the Moon as a dynamic place (the first lunar explorers described the landscape’s “magnificent desolation”), its past was one of intense bombardment, floods of lavas, and intrusive volcanism, and even today it continues to change. Understanding the Moon’s past and present may provide our best opportunity to gain new insights into diverse topics like the early evolution of the Solar System, the timeline of the first development of life on Earth, how a planetary body evolves from a fiery magma ocean to a solid world still cooling off today, and the how often asteroids and comets have struck the surface of the Moon (and thus the Earth) in the past and the present day. The last decade has seen a renaissance in lunar science due to a host of new missions and reexamination of old data and samples; this talk will focus on highlights of these recent results, their significance for our big-picture view of the Solar System, and where we should go next to answer some of our most important outstanding questions.
Dr. Brett Denevi is a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and the Deputy Principal Investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. Her research focuses on the origin and evolution of planetary and asteroidal surfaces, particularly the history of volcanism, the effects of impact cratering, and space weathering. Brett is the recipient of the 2015 Maryland Academy of Science outstanding young scientist award, a NASA early career fellowship, six NASA group achievement awards, and asteroid 9026 Denevi was named in her honor.