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PSI Senior Scientist William K. Hartmann, wearing the medal he received with the Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award, participates in the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute's 2013 virtual Lunar Science Forum.
Tucson, Ariz. – Tucson planetary scientist William K. Hartmann was today presented with the Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award, given each year to a scientist who has significantly contributed to the field of lunar science throughout the course of their scientific career.
The award was presented to Hartmann, a Senior Scientist and co-founder of the Planetary Science Institute, by the new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) – formerly the NASA Lunar Science Institute – at the 2013 virtual Lunar Science Forum, held July 16-18 from NASA Ames Research Center. More than 300 people attended the virtual event.
Speaking from Tucson, Ariz., Hartmann said, "It's an honor just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Gene Shoemaker, who did so much to increase our understanding of asteroid impacts and craters like Arizona's Meteor Crater."
“In view of his many fundamental and far-reaching breakthroughs in lunar science such as his discovery of multi-ring impact basins – including Orientale basin – Dr. Hartmann is exceptionally deserving of this medal,” said Yvonne Pendleton, director of SSERVI. “We are proud to present him with this honor.”
Bill Hartmann is an internationally known scientist, painter and writer, and winner of the first Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences. He discovered multi-ring impact basins with concentric and radial structure on the Moon, including the Orientale basin on the east limb of the Moon. In 1965 he used crater counts on the Moon and Earth to successfully predict the age of lunar lava plains at 3.6 billion years, a date confirmed five years later with Apollo samples from the Moon. He was lead author, with PSI Senior Scientist and co-founder Donald R. Davis, of what has become the most widely accepted theory of the origin of the Moon, by impact of a planet-sized body at the end of the planet-forming era.
"This is really an exciting time for lunar science," Hartmann said. "It's hard to find rocks from the first 600 million years or so on either Earth or the Moon, so there are still mysteries about exactly how the Moon formed and what happened in the era when life was starting."