New Interactive Timeline of Lunar Water Research Unveiled on Lunar Trailblazer Website

19 August 2020

The Lunar Trailblazer team debuted a new interactive timeline documenting major milestones in the exploration for water on the Moon. The webpage, which can be accessed on the Lunar Trailblazer website, was created by Trailblazer intern and Pasadena City College computer science student Liberty Locsin.

The goal of the timeline is to present a visually appealing and interactive interface documenting the history of lunar water research leading up to the conception of the Lunar Trailblazer mission. The timeline is designed to be accessible to anyone interested in the history of lunar water research, with pop-up captions explaining the details and significance behind historic benchmarks. This lunar chronology descends from the stars to a three-dimensional model of the Moon, featuring notable dates in the scientific progress for understanding lunar water. These seminal discoveries are accompanied throughout by trailing spacecraft models of various lunar missions, representing our progress toward understanding the nature of lunar water.

Locsin’s idea to create a timeline for lunar water research was inspired in part by a desire to understand the discoveries that led to the conception of Lunar Trailblazer. “The Voyager mission also has a timeline on their website,” says Locsin, “but I wanted to take this idea a step further by explaining the motivation for our mission, and themi legacy upon which it is building. Each mission, along with the work of other scientists, pushed forward new understanding.” Locsin also emphasizes that while Lunar Trailblazer builds upon a strong history of lunar research, there is still much we do not know. “Great progress has been made in understanding water on the Moon, but there is still more to discover. It is not over yet.”

Through Lunar Trailblazer’s internship program, Locsin proposed several possible formats for the timeline. After discussion with fellow interns, Locsin got to work. “I spent a lot of time figuring out the best way to include the pop-up captions. The website is my first responsive design and it was interesting to think of the size changes from desktop to mobile. The stars on the timeline are randomly generated with vanilla Javascript I made, so each time you open the website, it’s a different sky.” After fine-tuning many iterations, and incorporating feedback from the Lunar Trailblazer science team, the timeline was ready for release to the public.

The timeline is open to feedback to acknowledge the hard work and ongoing contributions of the lunar community. Travel through time and learn about the history of lunar water today!

By Jasper Miura
Jasper Miura is a Research Technician Associate and Lunar Trailblazer Science Manager at Caltech.