Elizabeth Moon was born March 7, 1945, and grew up in McAllen, Texas, graduating from McAllen High School in 1963. She has a B.A. in History from Rice University (1968) and another in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin (1975) with graduate work in Biology at the University of Texas, San Antonio. She served in the USMC from 1968 to 1971, first at MCB Quantico and then at HQMC. She married Richard Moon, a Rice classmate and Army officer, in 1969; they moved to the small central Texas town where they still live in 1979. They have one son, born in 1983.