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Cultural WG webinar – Moon Rocks: Study and Inspiration

November 14, 2023 @ 17:30 19:00 CET

‘For although our voyage is to be outward, it is also to be inward, to the sources of all great acts, which are not out there, but in here, in us all, where the muses dwell.’ Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By, 1972

The six Apollo Moon Surface Missions yielded a rich collection of lunar soil and rock, gathered by astronauts, that continue to reveal stories of the early solar system. Within these samples are clues to understanding the planetary processes that created Earth and even the prebiotic materials that support life. These extra-terrestrial rocks have immense value for researchers and human culture alike – this webinar will examine both aspects of their significance.

Transdisciplinary Artist Erika Blumenfeld conceived and established the Astromaterials 3D virtual library for NASA as a permanent public resource for exploring the nature of the solar system and its formation. In this webinar she’ll discuss this pioneering project and how it relates to her art practice. Planetary Scientist Prof Ian Crawford (Birkbeck College, University of London) will discuss the impact the Apollo Mission rock samples have had on our understanding of the Moon and the origin and evolution of the solar system.

Erika Blumenfeld is an artist, researcher, and writer who seeks engagement across the arts, sciences, and humanities to cultivate artworks and dialogue that explore the material and poetic origins of our relationship with the natural world. She approaches her work like an ecological archivist, driven by a passion to trace and collect the evidence and stories of connection across the cosmos. A Guggenheim, Smithsonian, and Emerson Collective Fellow, Blumenfeld has had studios in laboratories, observatories, and extreme environments, and has collaborated with scientists and research institutions, including NASA, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, McDonald Observatory, and the South African National Antarctic Program. Her work has been exhibited widely and is featured in multiple books and museum collections. Blumenfeld is the creator and Science-Principal Investigator of Astromaterials 3D at NASA, where she leads a team to create an interactive 3D virtual library of NASA’s astromaterials collections for researchers and the public. https://erikablumenfeld.com/

Ian Crawford is an astronomer turned planetary scientist, and is currently Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, University of London. The main focus of his research is in the area of lunar exploration, including the remote sensing of the lunar surface and the laboratory analysis of lunar samples. Ian also has research interests in the field of astrobiology, especially Martian analogue environments on Earth, and in the future of space exploration which he believes will become increasingly important for the future of humanity. A more detailed summary of interests, and list of publications, can be found at: https://www.bbk.ac.uk/our-staff/profile/8004655/ian-crawford

Register on Zoom to participate