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NEW COLLEGE, SARASOTA, FLORIDA FURMAN C. ARTHUR INFORMATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 6, 1966 Sarasota--Within the next seven to ten months, either the Americana or the Russians may perform decisive experiments giving man clues to the origin of the moon. A man who has a big stake in the answer, both for his country and for himself is Dr. John A. O'Keefe III of Chevy Chaae1 Md., an for the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) Goodard Space Center in Washington. Dr. O'Keefe was visiting his daughter, Mary, a at New College, and he met with me ere of the student body Friday evening to talk about astronomy. He i.s one of a group of scientists who hold that the moon surface is made up of a type of volcanic ash. Part of this theory is based on the find-ing of tektites--glassy objects found in certain parts of the earth and believed to have originated on the moon. Other groups of scientists theorize that the oon surface is much like a etone teor or made of basalt, a black igneous rock. The differences are closer to resolution as both Russia and th United States prep re more expeditions to the moon, including manned flights probably in this decade. -more-
NEW COLLEGE -Dr. O'Keefe Page 2 "Newest information indicates that either the basalt theory or ours about the volcanic ash will be proved right," quietly admits Dr. O'Keefe, with a touch of some pride. He has been with NASA since 1958 and a large part of his has been in trying to determine the composition of the moon. Asked this was portant, he said: "NASA designs experiments for its moon shots and if conditions there are such that experiments will not produce any results, then those experiments will be wasted," Daughter who has done her own studies of tektites, explained that if a certain type of Xray were sent to the moon in anticipation of non-glassy material but found glass, there would be no valid report. "le hope to discover the origin of the moon," said Dr. O'Keefe, .. and this is a big step in finding the origin of the solar system. "tf our theories are correct," he added, "we tnight find that the moon rdght once have been a part of the earth." Re said that they know the moon is very ancient and that since there bas been no erosion, that it has been preserved and might well give evidence of its origin. Asked why all the interest in reaching the moon, Dr. O'Keefe recalled laughingly Queen Tsabella of Spain and her financing of the voyages of Columbus.
NEW COLLEGE Dr. O'Keefe Page 3 know it's a new world and its exploration gives us a greater understanding of our own planet. Besides, .. he added, .. Spain would have been just another nation if Queen Isabella bad not been the backer of Columbus and so influenced the exploration of the Americas." The real reason for the exploration of the moon, as well as apace exploration, he continued more seriously, is that it helps man in his quest for the answers to the question of the origin of the universe. "There is a good deal of evidence that the universe was created 13 billion year ago. We are not sure whether the universe did have a beginning in time, and whether there really is something it," he said. He said that if some of these questions could be answered about the universe it would answer for scientists the auery: Ts there really a God? Educated at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, Dr. O'Keefe said he is now writing a long paper for nn international scientific publication on his theories about tektites and their orip,fn. Busily scheduled at New College talking to embers of the faculty, students, and adMinistrative staff, Dr. O'Keefe left Saturday to visit Fort Bragg, N.c. where one of his sons is ready for departure to Viet Nam. Father of nine, Dr. O'Keefe said of his daughter, Mary, "When she is home, a light goes on in the house." Mary's own shared interest in tektites and in science deaonatrates many bonds between father and daughter in addition to a great deal of pride.