Educator and Meteorite Explorer
(September 1, 1932 – February 10, 2023)
Professor Carleton B. Moore became the Founding Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies, at Arizona State University in 1961. He came at the request of George Fales, a longtime meteorite enthusiast, ASU benefactor, and Center philanthropist.
Over his tenure there, Professor Moore expanded the Center and ASU’s research portfolio and directly affected the course of science history.
Moore set up the very first carbon isotope analyses at NASA’s Lunar Receiving Laboratory in order to study samples returned by the Apollo missions. His labs at ASU proved to be the only ones in the world capable of the difficult analyses. The analyses of Apollo samples set the precedent for the study of all types of planetary materials.
Moore set up and opened the first Meteorite Museum at ASU, making the Center’s incredible collection of space rocks available for public viewing as he continued to acquire and study new meteorites.
Moore’s team identified organic molecules in extraterrestrial material, in 1969, pushing the search for the origins of life on Earth in a new direction.
In 1981, Asteroid 5046 Carletonmoore was named in recognition of Moore’s contributions to the science of meteoritics, and the mineral carletonmooreite, found so far only in meteorites, discovered at ASU, was named in his honor in 2021.
Carleton retired from ASU in 2003, but he continued to work in his lab and at the museum
His knowledge of meteoritics and the ASU collection was especially valued by Center researchers and the public after his retirement.
Over the course of his career, Carleton touched innumerable lives. He was a well-respected member and benefactor of the Pinal Geology and Mineral Society, appearing at their annual shows with his own collection and offering identification of hundreds of potential meteorites.