An award for the 'geologist moonwalker'

April 23, 2007

On April 10, Harrison Schmitt received the inaugural Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Award. This newly constituted prize is presented by BEYOND, Arizona State University's Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. It will be conferred each year to a leading scientist in honor of his or her life and work.

"It's fitting that Harrison Schmitt be the first recipient", says Paul Davies, ASU professor and director of BEYOND. Schmitt, currently the last man on the moon and the only geologist to ever have been on the lunar surface, has a diverse background as a pilot, astronaut, admin-istrator, businessman and writer. In his book "Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space", published by Springer, Schmitt discusses the technological, economical, and philosophical options for human development on the Moon.

Born in 1935 in Santa Rita, New Mexico, Harrison Schmitt currently chairs the NASA Advi-sory Coucil. Before joining NASA, he was with the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Center at Flagstaff, Arizona. His scientific research concentrates primarily on the synthesis of data related to the origin and evolution of the Moon and the terrestrial planets and on the economic geology of the lunar regolith and its resources. He is a strong advocate of returning to the Moon, as the Moon could be used as a source of helium-3 (3H), a rare isotope of he-lium that can be used as a fuel for nuclear fusion reactors. Apart from his scientific work, Schmitt served in the U.S. Senate for five years, representing his home state of New Mexico.

The Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Award is being presented for the first time. It is dedicated to Eugene Shoemaker, who was known for his pioneering research with his wife, Carolyn Shoemaker, in the field of asteroid and comet impacts. Among Shoemaker's many contribu-tions to astronomy was the co-discovery of a comet that collided with Jupiter in 1994. The prize will be awarded each year to a leading scientist.


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