Emily Outen
08-065: Professor to Speak on NASA's Exploration of Moon and Planets

HAMPTON, Va. -- The launch of Sputnik energized NASA's exploration of the solar system, including the moon and all eight planets. According to Dr. James Head, a distinguished professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University, it was NASA's exploration that "provided a new understanding of how the Earth and other planetary bodies formed and evolved."

Head will speak on what he calls the "missing chapters of Earth history" in a colloquium lecture called "The Exploration of the Moon and Planets: A New Perspective on Earth" on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center at NASA Langley. The talk is part of a series celebrating NASA's 50th anniversary.

Media who wish to interview Head at a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday should contact Emily Outen at 864-7022 or at by noon for credentials and entry to NASA Langley.

He will present the same lecture for the general public on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air & Space Center on Settlers Landing Road in Hampton. The evening talk is free and no reservations are required.

Head is currently researching the processes that form and modify planetary surfaces. He also studies comparative planetology and the themes of planetary evolution, and looks for application of these to the study of early Earth history. He has conducted field studies on active volcanoes in Hawaii and at Mount St. Helens and on volcanic deposits on the seafloor with two deep-sea submersible dives.

Before his time at Brown University, Head worked with the NASA Apollo Lunar Exploration Program, where he helped select potential landing sites and train the Apollo astronauts. He also worked in mission operations and analyzed the returned lunar samples.

For more information on NASA Langley’s Colloquium and Sigma Series lectures, visit:

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