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September 15, 2009 Judy Hughes
(502) 852-6171

Lunar ‘double feature’ examines rover, future space exploration

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There will be a lunar double feature Oct. 8 when a member of the Apollo moon rover development team and a current space exploration researcher team up to lecture at the University of Louisville.

The free, public Bullitt Lecture in Astronomy, intended for the general public, will begin at 7 p.m. in Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium. This year’s event is planned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.

Topics will be “Lunar Roving Vehicle – Spacecraft on Wheels” by Ferenc Pavlics and “Current and Future Exploration of the Lunar Surface” by Philip Abel.

Pavlics will talk about the early concepts considered for moon exploration, the design and development of the lunar roving vehicle and the results of the successful operation. Between 1968 and 1972, he was the engineering director responsible for the rover's design, development and manufacturing for the Apollo program. After retiring from GM, the scientist also was a consultant in the development of the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration rovers.

Abel has been a leader in the human robotics systems project at NASA’s John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. His group has also built a simulated lunar operations facility at Glenn Research Center for research and design work, and it has created replicas of the Apollo lunar rover’s wire mesh wheels for current testing.

The physics and astronomy department and the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium present the annual lectures through an endowment established by the family of former U.S. Solicitor General William Marshall Bullitt.

For more information, contact professors Gerard Williger at 502-852-0821 or or James Lauroesch at 502-852-1394 or


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