Comment on the International Jubilee Symposium
"The Scientific Results of Space Research of the Moon"

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the Symposium as a whole, as well as on individual submissions. The importance of international work in this area is obvious, as space research has always been an international endeavour. The usefulness of the Internet as a method of holding international meetings without the expense of travel is also clear, but this new medium is not yet well established in this role. As we continue in this manner such meetings will become more accepted. For myself, I greatly welcomed the chance to learn more about lunar mapping from Dr. Rodionova, and to see that a new appraisal of the earliest Far Side images can still be useful. I have seen the Galileo spacecraft images which show the South Pole-Aitken basin as a dark area, but I had not connected that with the Luna 3 images of the same feature. I wholeheartedly agree with the interpretation that SP-A is visible in the earliest images.

How can we move on with international cooperation in the World Wide Web era? I would like to suggest that NASA's Planetary Data System is a good model. All of NASA's planetary data are used by the mission science teams for initial analysis, and then placed on line through the PDS for anybody to use without charge. As a Canadian, I have benefited greatly from this openness. I have attempted to adopt the same model with some of my work, by distributing photomosaic maps of Phobos and Deimos freely on CD-ROM rather than turning them into commercial products (there are copies of my CD-ROMs at SAI). We are moving into a period in which planetary data will be acquired by several nations, but I hope that all nations will adopt this openness with data. At the same time, much might be done with older images, by scanning prints to create new digital files. Although these lose photometric fidelity they are still very useful for morphological work, mapping etc. It would be very useful to have older planetary data such as early Luna panoramas of the surface, or orbital images from the Zond missions, available in this way. The sad fact is that if such data are not available digitally in future, less use will be made of them than is warranted by their importance.

To return to the idea of an Internet Symposium, there can be no better way to meet than face to face, person to person, as my experience in the last year with Russian colleagues has taught me. Unfortunately, the expense of travel often prevents this. Therefore I hope to see more use of the internet in this way. I might suggest that submissions as PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files or HTML files (without too many parts) would be an improvement over Word files, but it may be better to limit options to the simplest method at first.

Warmest Regards

Philip J. Stooke
Department of Geography
University of Western Ontario