Our Moon: From Imagination to Exploration

First-year undergraduate course to be offered at Johns Hopkins University in Fall 2019

People imagined of going to the Moon long before Neil Armstrong took those famous steps. Works such as Jules Verne’s 1865 book De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon) and Georges Méliès’s 1902 movie Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) served to inspire later exploration of the Moon in the second half of the 20th century. In 1959, Luna 2 became the first spacecraft to visit the Moon and since then a number of robotic and human missions have successfully explored the Moon. Analyzing data from those missions has led to a detailed scientific understanding of the Moon, yet certain fundamental questions remain unresolved. This calls for future exploration of the Moon. As new lunar missions are planned, it is important for students to understand the history, engineering, and science of past lunar missions so that they appreciate the reasons and the challenges. This course will be open to all students. One of the main objectives will be to have broad participation of students. It took nearly 400,000 people to put humans on the Moon and as such, it is important for students to recognize that they have a place in the exploration of our Moon. Students’ interests will be matched to an aspect of lunar exploration (e.g., engineering, science, art, and history) and they will then actively participate in creating a final project pertaining to lunar exploration.