The Moon: From its Interior to Exterior - PLANETSCI 9608L

The Moon: From its Interior to Exterior  (PLANETSCI 9608L)


“Offered in conjunction with the Canadian Lunar Research Network”


Contact: Dr. Gordon Osinski -  519-661-2111 x 84208

Date: Tuesday, May 21st – Saturday, 25th 2019

Time: 9:00am - 5:00 pm (Some evening work required)

Where: Western University, London, Canada - Room 1053, Biological and Geological Sciences Building


PLANETSC 9603 (Introduction to Planetary Science) or similar will provide the necessary background for this course (contact Dr. Osinski to discuss).

Course Description:

NASA together with the Canadian Space Agency and other international partners, both public and private, are accelerating efforts to return humans to the Moon. This is an intensive 5-day short course designed to give participants interested in planetary science and space exploration an overview of the Moon. The course begins with a history of the exploration of the Moon and the various missions and datasets that are available for study. Participants will learn about what we currently know of the origin and early evolution of the Moon and its interior structure. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the two dominant geological processes that have shaped the surface of the Moon; namely volcanism and impact cratering. Other topics to be covered include the nature of the lunar regolith, the effects space weathering, and the current understanding of volatiles on the Moon. Some of the world's leading experts on lunar science and exploration will present modules on these selected topics. The course is suitable for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students and for professionals from industry and government. The course will feature both overview lectures, smaller topical study groups, hands-on activities involving imagery returned from unmanned orbiters and landers as well as astromaterials in the form of meteorites and analogue materials. Recent and ongoing planetary missions will be highlighted.

This course will focus on the following topics:

  • History of lunar exploration.
  • Origin and early evolution of the Moon.
  • The interior of the Moon.
  • Volcanology and lunar volcanism.
  • Impact cratering and lunar craters.
  • Regolith processes.
  • Lunar volatiles

Specific topics that will be addressed in each module, where applicable, include:

  • The use of remote sensing datasets from planetary missions and how to access them.
  • Terrestrial analogues of space environments.
  • Astromaterials and analytical techniques for sample analysis.


Tuesday 21 May am

Tuesday 21 May pm

History of Lunar Exploration

Dr. Phil Stooke, Western University

Origin and Early Evolution of the Moon

Dr. Barbara Cohen, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Wednesday 22 May am

Wednesday 22 May pm

The Interior of the Moon

Dr. Sean Shieh, Western University

Lunar Data Sets and JMARS

Dr. Livio Tornabene, Western University

Title TBD

Dr. Clive Neal, University of Notre Dame

Thursday 23 May am

Thursday 23 May pm

Lunar Volcanology

Dr. Jacob Richardson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Lunar Volcanology (cont.)

Dr. Jacob Richardson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Friday 24 May am

Friday 24 May pm

Lunar Impact Cratering

Dr. Gordon Osinski, Western University

Lunar Impact Cratering (cont.)

Dr. Gordon Osinski, Western University

Saturday 25 May am

Saturday 25 May pm

Origin and Evolution of the Lunar Magnetic Field

Thermal Evolution of the Moon

Lunar Polar Deposits and Surface Water

Group presentations


Instructors: The overall instructor for this course is Dr. Gordon Osinski (; +1-519-661-4208; room 1050 B&G). Other confirmed instructors for various modules include Dr. Phil Stooke (University of Western Ontario), Dr. Jacob Richardson (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), Dr. Clive Neal (University of Notre Dame), Dr. Sean Shieh (University of Western Ontario).

Course Objectives:

The principal objective of this course is to provide participants with a broad overview of the Moon, from its interior to exterior, as well as its origin, evolution, and the history of lunar exploration.

Course Format:

Each session will feature a selection of presentations by the instructor, hands-on exercises and laboratory sessions. Time will be allocated at the end of each day to discuss materials presented in the class, examine sample suites where available and applicable, and assist with problem sets.

Course Materials:

A complete set of course notes and related reading material will be provided for each session of the course. These will form the basis for problem sets and practical exercises.


Please click here to go to the registration webpage.

Course registration fees are $300 for students studying outside of Ontario, $700 for International students and $1200 + HST for professionals.  Fees will cover the costs of course organization, speakers, and course notes. No additional university fees will be charged to professional registrants.

Course Evaluation:

This course is a 0.5 FCE credit. Students registered in the course will be evaluated as follows:

Attendance and participation: 10%
Exercises and laboratory write-ups: 30%
Mission presentation: 20%
Group project: 40%
Total: 100%

Course Evaluation (details):

Attendance and Participation – 10%

Each student is expected to actively contribute to all class discussions. Students are encouraged to read widely beyond the content of lectures and prescribed readings and bring own readings and experiences into the class discussions. It is expected that each student will come prepared to debate, defend, and critique the readings and the lecture content.

Exercises and laboratory write-ups – 30%

There will be 5 exercises and hands-on laboratories during the short course. Write-ups will be due by 11.59 pm on May 25th, the final day of the course.

Mission presentation – 20%

Each student will choose a lunar mission and carry out background research on its history, timeline, structure, and major scientific results. Each student will present to the class on the final day of the course (May 25th 2019).

Group project – 40%

The course group project will involve groups of students (5 or 6) working on the characterization of potential landing sites for future lunar missions. At the outset of the course, students will be provided with a list of potential landing sites from which to choose from. Each group will research previous work done at that site, collate planetary mission datasets, and analyze to determine science objectives. Sites of interest will be determined and a rover traverse planned. Each group will decide the role played by each group member; at the end of the project the other group members will confidentially assess each member's contribution to the final report. Further guidance will be provided on the first day of the course. Time will be made available to develop the group projects throughout the course in the mid- to late afternoon; evening work will also be required. The due date for the final report for this project is 5 pm June 29th 2019.

Academic Honesty Statements and Absences:

Assignments: Assignments must be submitted both by hardcopy and electronically on the assigned due date and will not be accepted late, except under medical or other compassionate circumstances (see below). Submitting a late assignment without appropriate documentation will result in a zero (0) grade.

Accessibility: Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 661-2111 x 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.

Absences/Missed Exams/Assignments: If you miss a lecture or laboratory component of the course, you should contact the course instructor within 24 hours to schedule a make-up during the week of May 27th– 31st 2019. If you miss more than 25% of the course then you would need to drop the course. If you are unable to meet a deadline for a course evaluation requirement due to illness or other serious circumstances, you must provide valid medical or other supporting documentation to the Dean's office as soon as possible and contact your instructor immediately. It is the student's responsibility to make alternative arrangements with their instructor once the accommodation has been approved and the instructor has been informed. In the event of a missed final exam, a "Recommendation of Special Examination" form must be obtained from the Dean's Office immediately. For further information please see:

A student requiring academic accommodation due to illness should use the Student Medical Certificate when visiting an off-campus medical facility or request a Records Release Form (located in the Dean's Office) for visits to Student Health Services. The form can be found here:

Academic misconduct: Academic Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site:

All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and ( Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams may be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating.