Dr Stuart Ross Taylor AC

Apollo sample analysis


Dr Stuart Ross Taylor

Dr Stuart Ross Taylor

NASA photo.


From Hamish Lindsay’s “Tracking Apollo to the Moon”, 2001:

Dr. Stuart Ross Taylor, MA, DSc (Oxford), MSc (NZ), PhD (Indiana), FAA, is a Professorial Fellow at the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University, Canberra.

He was a member of the NASA Lunar Sample Preliminary Examination Team for Apollo 11 and 12. He was put in charge of the initial chemical analyses and carried out the first chemical analysis of a lunar sample. He is a Principal Investigator for the Lunar Sample Program, a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society, and of the Australian Academy of Science, and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. He has published 210 scientific papers and six books.

From the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston,

“Dr. Stuart [Ross] Taylor was involved in the study of lunar samples from the first sample return in July 1969, when he was a member of the Preliminary Examination Team at NASA JSC, Houston, Texas and carried out the first analysis of the first lunar sample returned to Earth. Subsequently as a NASA principal investigator for 20 years, he worked on models for lunar composition, evolution and origin. He has made many visits to the Lunar and Planetary Institute as a visiting fellow.”

Asteroid 5670, “Rosstaylor” is named after him and Dr Taylor received the 2012 Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award.

Dr. Taylor was elected as a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 1994 and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2008, “For outstanding service to science, particularly in the fields of geochemistry and cosmochemistry as a researcher, writer and educator.”


Hamish Lindsay interviewed Dr. Taylor at his home in Canberra on 24 May 1994, as part of his research for his book, “Tracking Apollo to the Moon”.

He recorded the interview on a DAT tape, and we are grateful to the ACT Heritage Library, and to Antoinette Buchanan and her team, for their help in making a transfer of this tape.

Dr Stuart Ross Taylor

audio Interviewed by Hamish Lindsay
(65 minutes, 23.5MB mp3 file)

Some highlights:

00:25 Did the Apollo missions bring the results Harold Urey had hoped for?

01:30 Current thinking on the evolution of the Moon.

08:05 Nature of the lunar surface.

11:40 Useful minerals on the Moon? There is Helium 3. Water?

20:00 Theories on the origin of the Moon. 1984 conference.

37:00 Tektites origin not lunar.

44:20 What did Australia gain from the lunar sample analysis?

46:42 What current lunar and planetary research is being done?

50:36 Apollo 11, fears of possible dangers from the lunar samples.

53:10 Involvement with the Lunar Receiving Laboratory.

Dr Stuart Ross Taylor

Hamish Lindsay took this photo of Dr. Taylor with his old friend, the Spark Source Mass Spectrometer, at the Australian National University in Canberra, in May 1994.

Negative scan by Colin Mackellar.

Dr Stuart Ross Taylor

Here’s a print of a colour photo taken at the same time.

Photo: Hamish Lindsay, scan: Colin Mackellar.


See also:

The man who proved the moon isn’t cheese – ANU Reporter (undated).

Lunar Science: A Post-Apollo View – by Stuart Ross Taylor. Pergamon, 1975.


Interview recorded by Hamish Lindsay, 24 May 1994.
DAT tape transferred by the ACT Heritage Library, November 2019.
Lightly edited and encoded by Colin Mackellar, June 2020.