Masursky Lecture

Martha Gilmore

Biography of Martha Gilmore

Martha S. Gilmore is the Seney Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Gilmore is a geologist who specializes in the study of planetary surfaces using geomorphic mapping and violet/near-infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy on Venus, Mars, and Earth. She compares spectral signatures from field and laboratory work to orbital images to better interpret the signals received from remote sensing platforms.

Gilmore is a world-renowned expert on Venus geology and the oldest rock units on Venus located in tessera terrain. She has served NASA as co-chair of the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences, as a member of the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration and the Planetary Science Decadal Survey, and as Deputy Chair of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group. She is a science team member on the Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging (DAVINCI) and Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy (VERITAS) missions to Venus. In addition, she has been a co-investigator on other Discovery and New Frontiers proposals as well as other mission and instrument concept ideation and study. She was the principal investigator of a Venus Flagship Mission Concept Study for the current Planetary Decadal Survey.

History of the Masursky Lecture

During his 20-year career in planetary science, Harold Masursky (1923–1990) was a world-renowned pioneer in space exploration. He applied his many talents to the fields of economic, structural, and planetary geology. In the 1960s he played a major role in the choice of Apollo landing sites. In the 1970s he headed the scientific team that first mapped the planet Mars, and he was actively involved in the selection of the Viking landing sites. Through the 1980s he was a key figure in Voyager Project. His work has resulted in over 200 publications. One of his major contributions was as president of the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union. He was the recipient of many honors from NASA, USGS, and other scientific organizations. His contributions to planetary geology, to the design of spacecraft instruments, and to international scientific cooperation will long be remembered. As a tribute to his work, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) organizers decided to incorporate into the annual program a lecture series in his honor. The first of these lectures was held at the 23rd LPSC in 1992.

Past Lectures

LPSC # Lecture Details
52 Monday, March 15, 2021*
John Grotzinger, California Institute of Technology
“The Early Aqueous Environment of Mars Inferred from Mission Lifetime Results by the Curiosity Rover at Gale Crater”
*Rescheduled from 2020
51 Monday, March 16, 2020*
John Grotzinger, California Institute of Technology
“The Early Aqueous Environment of Mars Inferred from Mission Lifetime Results by the Curiosity Rover at Gale Crater”
*Due to concerns about COVID-19, the 2020 conference was canceled, so the Masursky Lecture did not take place.
50 Monday, March 18, 2019
Harrison H. Schmitt, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Apollo 17 Lunar Science and Lunar Policy”
49 March 19, 2018
Linda Spilker, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
“Cassini’s Amazing Discoveries”
48 March 20, 2017
David E. Smith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Planetary Topography from Laser Altimetry”
47 March 21, 2016
S. Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute
“New Horizons: The Exploration of the Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt Beyond”
46 March 16, 2015
Lars Borg, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
“Insights into the Evolution of the Solar System from Isotopic Investigations of Samples”
45 March 17, 2014
Col. David R. Scott, USAF (Retired)
“Masursky’s Moon and the Science of Apollo 15”
44 March 18, 2013
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Carnegie Institution for Science
“On Building an Earth-Like Planet”
43 March 19, 2012
James W. Head III, Brown University
“Mars Climate History: A Geological Perspective”
42 March 7, 2011
Robin Canup, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder
“Formation of Planetary Satellites”
41 March 1, 2010
Ronald Greeley, Arizona State University
“Shifting Sands: Planetary Atmosphere-Surface Interactions”
40 March 23, 2009
Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder
“Planet Categorization and Planetary Science: Coming of Age in the 21st Century”
39 March 10, 2008
Robert O. Pepin, University of Minnesota
“The First Look at Stardust’s Comet Cargo”
38 March 12, 2007
Margaret Kivelson, University of California, Los Angeles
“Magnetized Plasmas as Probes of the Atmospheres, Surfaces, and Interiors of the Outer Planets”
37 March 13, 2006
Jonathan I. Lunine, University of Arizona
“Beyond the Asteroid Belt: What do Do Next in the Outer Solar System, and Why?”
36 March 14, 2005
Captain John Young, Astronaut
“The Future of Human Space Exploration and Why?”
35 March 15, 2004
S. Ross Taylor, Australian National University
“Planetary Science: A New Discipline?”
34 March 17, 2003
Peter Goldreich, Princeton University/California Institute of Technology
“Kuiper Belt Binaries: A New Window on Runaway Accretion”
33 2002
No Masursky Lecture; this was the year that Joe Boyce retired from NASA Headquarters, and his contributions were recognized during the plenary session
32 March 13, 2001
Sean C. Solomon, Carnegie Institution of Washington
“The Harold Masursky Lecture: An Earth in Moon’s Clothing?, or Mercury as an Object Lesson on Approaches to Planetary Exploration”
31 March 13, 2000
John A. Wood, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
“Chondrites: Tight-Lipped Witnesses to the Beginning”
30 March 15, 1999
Michael J. S. Belton, National Optical Astronomy Observatories
“Galileo: Mission of a Lifetime”
Carolyn C. Porco, University of Arizona
“The Summer of ’04: Cassini’s Exploration and the Saturn System”
29 March 16, 1998
Michael Carr, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park
“Mars: Aquifers, Oceans, and the Prospects for Life”
Matthew G. Golombek, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
“Mars Pathfinder Mission and Science Results”
28 March 19, 1997
William A. Cassidy, University of Pittsburgh
“Masursky Lecture: Retrospective on the U.S. Antarctic Meteorite Program, Or: Fun and Games with Antarctic Meteorites, Or: Frozen Toes and Frozen Meteorites”
Robert O. Pepin, University of Minnesota
“The SNC-Viking Connection: Evidence and Arguments for Meteorites from Mars”
27 March 18, 1996
A. P. Ingersoll, California Institute of Technology
“Probing Questions about Jupiter”
26 March 13, 1995
Michael J. Drake, University of Arizona
“The Moon: What We (Think We) Know About It, How We Know About It; and What We Don’t Know!”
25 1994
No Masursky Lecture because of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the conference
24 March 15, 1993
James Arnold, University of California, San Diego
“Cosmic Rays Probe Planetary Objects”
23 March 16, 1992
Eugene Shoemaker, U.S. Geological Survey
“Impact Cratering Through the Solar System”
Ellen Stofan, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
“The Geology of Venus from Masursky to Magellan”