RASC Vancouver Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture (In person at SFU and online by zoom)

Join us for our monthly meeting. All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Simon Fraser University Burnaby Room AQ3159

Topic: The archaeology of another world: uncovering our lunar cultural heritage

Speaker: Dr. Alice Gorman

Bio: Dr. Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology and author of the award-winning book Dr. Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future (MIT Press, 2019). Her research focuses on the archaeology and heritage of space exploration, including space junk, planetary landing sites, off-earth mining, and space habitats. In 2022, she co-directed (with Justin Walsh) an archaeological survey on the International Space Station, which was the first archaeological fieldwork ever to take place outside Earth. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and a heritage consultant with over 25 years’ experience working with Indigenous communities in Australia. Gorman is also a Vice-Chair of the Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities, a member of the Advisory Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia, and Vice-Chair of the Adelaide Section of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. Asteroid 551014 Gorman was named after her in recognition of her work in space archaeology.

Abstract: How would we feel if an industrial machine blew away the first footprints of human beings on another world? If lunar visitors scratched their names into the Apollo 11 landing module and stole the plaque commemorating this achievement on behalf of all humanity?

The Moon is not only the inspiration for mythology, literature, art, and science on Earth. It is the gateway to human exploration in the rest of the Solar System, with resources such as water ice that can be used to fuel rockets to Mars. The major spacefaring nations are proposing to send people back to the Moon, 54 years after the Apollo 11 mission, and this time they plan to stay.

However, the Moon is also the location of significant cultural heritage with over 100 archaeological sites that show how technology and human behaviour adapted to a new planetary environment. Soon, the lunar cultural heritage record will be under threat from human activities for the first time. What’s going to happen to the extraordinary places and objects left on the Moon, since the first human object, the Soviet Luna 2 space probe, crashed in 1959? In this lecture, space archaeologist Alice Gorman takes us on a journey to find out.

About our Events:

All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events