When Tiziana Trabucchi was a little girl growing up in Milan, Italy, her grandfather gave her an encyclopedia.

The seven-year-old pored over the geology section, solidifying her awe for the sciences in a city known for the arts.

“There is the sensation of living in the past in Italy,” she said, pointing to museums, opera houses and paintings like Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper located in a Milan monastery. “North America is more projected to the future and focused on scientific advancements, so I decided to apply to UNB.”

After completing a master’s degree in geology in Europe, Trabucchi joined the University of New Brunswick’s Planetary and Space Science Centre in Fredericton.

Now, midway through her doctoral thesis, Trabucchi has been hand-picked to help NASA evaluate future landing sites on the moon as part of the Constellation Lunar Exploration Program.

She touches down in Houston at the end of the month for the 10-week program.

Some may see moon landings as a fait accompli, given United States’ Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969.

But Trabucchi said “the moon is still a very important and strategic place to go.”

“The Japanese are thinking of going there with a robotic mission and the Chinese want to put a stable human base on the moon,” she said. “There are also strategic resources there that are unique to lunar soil.”

Read the full story at the Telegraph-Journal

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