Duncan Lecture

The Annual Duncan Lecture in the Department of Physics

2024 Duncan Lecture

2024 Duncan Lecture  



2024 Duncan Lecture

Annual Duncan Lecture speaker shares insight about the architecture of going to Mars


Rajiv Doreswamy, director of space technology and engineering research at the University of Alabama, presented the 2024 Duncan Lecture - Moon to Mars: Architecting the Future of Exploration.

Doreswamy, who worked for NASA for 35 years and held the position of project integration manager for the Ares Projects Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center, talked about the future of space exploration going from the moon to Mars.

He spoke about the Artemis mission to a packed classroom.

“The Artemis mission will put the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface,” Doreswamy said.

Before Mars, the team must plan for time on the moon.

“We have to go to the moon first and learn how to work long durations in space,” he said. “Learn how to generate power and build an infrastructure that we can transfer to Mars.”

The goals of this project impact an array of areas in science.

“We want to understand planetary processes,” he explained. “How planets work and how planets were formed.”

This project will challenge what has never been done on the moon before.

“We want to go to the South Pole of the Moon, understand the history of the Earth-Moon system, reveal the record of the ancient sun in astronomy and even build an observatory on the moon.”

He shared information about the Space Launch System or SLS.

“It is the size of the Statue of Liberty, and the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built,” he explained.

He talked about the four phases of the Artemis missions.

“The Artemis III mission will have the first human landing in the South Pole region of the moon,” Doreswamy shared. “And, Artemis IV will help us have the gateway which will be a space station that orbits the moon where astronauts can work up to 30 days.”

Technology will continue to progress.

“Artemis V and VI will continue to add sustainable concepts on the moon,” he added. “Artemis VII will give us a fully operational space station.”

Most importantly, these missions will unite scientists, engineers and many stakeholders. 

“It is a global community and involves the whole world where we get contributions and ideas,” he added.

Learn more about how it will take a year to get to Mars and a year to get back, plus more details about these missions. Watch the annual Duncan Lecture online: