Episode 28: 100 Milestones in Lunar History with Astrobiologist David Warmflash

 

On this episode, Beth and Astrobiologist Dr. David Warmflash discuss his new book, Moon: An Illustrated History; From Ancient Myths to the Colonies of Tomorrow.

Here are some highlights from both the book and the Casual (Space) conversation:

  • This new and different book about the moon includes images on every left side of the page, and illuminating text on every right side!
  • Moon: An Illustrated History chronologically presents 100 milestones in the Moon’s development and exploration. Starting 4.5 billion years ago when the Moon formed, David walks through hypotheses of the Moon’s formation to sixth-century BCE predictions of solar eclipses, from the twentieth-century Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union to private space companies and possible future lunar colonies.
  • Did you know there were lunar calendars as well as solar calendars?
  • David shares how lunar brightness was used to estimate stellar distances; how advancing telescopes in the seventeenth century allowed us to eye the Moon more closely; how author Jules Verne inspired the Father of Astronautics; the originals of the Saturn V Moon Rocket and we bring it all back to the Apollo missions.
  • The Moon formed billions of years ago, and humans have been enthralled with the Moon throughout history.
  • The moon has a lot of resources that we can mine- silicon dioxide and we can genetically engineer opportunities to mine for water (ice) for all kinds of things- fuel, oxygen, etc.
  • Now is the time for the Moon! There’s the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon, so we are all reminiscing.
  • In his book, David highlights how the moon effected humanity before any technology was applied to the moon.
  • The Moon meant a lot of different things to many ancient people. We take our best guess when we find ancient structures that help line up the lunar year and solar year. People worshiped the moon as a goddess. Agricultural societies would use a lunar calendar to help successfully plant and harvest during the year.
 

“Going to the moon will help everyone on Earth. The new mission to go back to the moon is named Artemis (the sister to Apollo).  We can get energy from the moon and make things [on Earth] more sustainable.”

Dr. David Warmflash  
 

About David Warmflash:

Dr. David Warmflash is an astrobiologist and prolific science writer. He was in the first cohort of NASA astrobiology postdoctoral trainees and served as a member of NASA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter Science Definition Team. He has collaborated with The Planetary Society on three experiments that have flown in space, including “the peace experiment” that involved an Israeli and a Palestinian student working with Dr. Warmflash as co-investigators. He has published in scientific journals and popular science publications including Wired UK, Scientific American, Discover, Air and Space, Astronomy Magazine, and others. He contributed to the book George and the Blue Moon by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking, and was interviewed for an article in the Kansas City Star concerning the accuracy of the science in the sci-fi TV series Orphan Black.