Lunar and Planetary Institute






Lunar Science and Exploration
Center for Lunar Science and Exploration

Team Members

Everett Gibson is a Senior Scientist in the Astromaterials Research Office, NASA Johnson Space Center and specializes in planetary volatiles. He was a Lunar Sample P.I. for 20 years studying abundances, distributions and isotopic compositions of the CHONS elements in lunar materials.  His work on the hydrogen abundances in lunar soils, grain size separates, lunar breccias and rocks lays the foundation for all future studies utilizing hydrogen in lunar samples as a lunar resource.  He is currently working on cooperative projects with scientists in the U.K. on potentially using a derivative of the Beagle 2 hardware developed for Mars Express as a scientific package to be sent to the permanently shadowed regions of the moon in search of lunar hydrogen, water and other volatiles.

Walter S. Kiefer is a Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, specializing in planetary geophysics. He combines observations made by NASA spacecraft, particularly measurements of planetary gravity and topography and images of surface features, with computer models in order to better understand the internal structure and evolution of the Moon, Mars, and Venus. His work with the NASA Lunar Science Institute will focus on understanding the thermal and mechanical evolution of large impact basins on the Moon and on placing improved constraints on the early bombardment history of the Earth-Moon system.  Additional information can be found at Dr. Kiefer's website.

Cin-Ty Lee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Rice University. He is a geochemist/petrologist interested in planetary differentiation with a particular emphasis on the origin of basalts and evolved crusts on Earth and other planets in order to understand the thermal history of planets. He brings together field work, petrographic microscopy, isotope geochemistry, phase petrology, and simple geodynamic models to address some of these topics. He is also interested in how planetary exospheres on rocky planets interact with their solid interiors and how such interactions influence the composition of crusts. Additional information can be found at Dr. Lee's website.

Patrick J. McGovern is a Staff Scientist in Geophysics at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. His work focuses on the response of the lithosphere (the strong outer layer of a planet) to large loads caused by volcanic and/or impact processes on the terrestrial (rocky) planets. His contribution to the NASA Lunar Science Institute will be to perform coupled thermo-mechanical modeling of lithospheric response to basin loading, constrained by observations of topography, geology, tectonics, and gravity, to evaluate scenarios for producing the observed states and distribution of large impact features on the Moon.

Chuck Meyer is a Lunar Scientist at the Johnson Space Center.  He has studied glass beads, coatings on glass beads, metal particles and zircons in lunar samples using electron and ion microprobes.  Recently he helped colleagues in Australia establish the end of the lunar magma ocean at 4.417 Ga!  Currently he is compiling everything that is known about lunar samples, sample-by-sample and posting it on the web as the Lunar Sample Compendium.

David W. Mittlefehldt is a Planetary Scientist in the Astromaterials Research Office of NASA/Johnson Space Center specializing on the petrology and geochemistry of planetary materials.  He does petrologic and compositional studies of differentiated rocks, impact melts and chondrites from asteroids, Mars, the Moon and Earth.  His work with the NASA Lunar Science Institute will primarily be on the petrology and bulk composition of lunar samples that will be used to constrain the nature of the late heavy bombardment.

Clive R. Neal is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering & Geological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he specializes in Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry. He has over 22 years of experience in working with lunar samples to unravel the history of the Moon through studying their petrography and geochemistry. Neal is also the Director of the Notre Dame ICP-MS Analytical Facility and uses this facility to analyze bulk lunar samples (using solution ICP-MS) or their constituent phases (using laser ablation ICP-MS). His work with the NASA Lunar Science Institute will be to examine the bulk and mineral compositions of lunar impact melts in order to investigate their petrogenesis and place constraints on both the impactor(s) and target lithologies that would represent the earliest lunar crust.  Further details of Neal's research and published papers can be found at his website.

Marc Norman is a Senior Fellow at the Australian National University. His research specializes in planetary geochemistry and geochronology. His work with the NLSI will investigate the impact history of the Moon, and the evolution of the lunar crust and mantle using precise measurements of the ages, chemical compositions, and petrologic characteristics of lunar samples.

Timothy D. Swindle is a Professor in the Departments of Planetary Science and Geosciences at the University of Arizona. He studies the chronology and noble gas chemistry of extraterrestrial samples. His work with the NASA Lunar Science Institute will involve 40Ar-39Ar dating of lunar samples to constrain the timing and duration of lunar bombardment.

Allan Treiman is the Associate Director for Science at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. His research interests are in planetary materials: meteorites, lunar rocks, and analogs on Earth. His training was in chemistry and earth geology, and his first brush with planetary science was a study of the first known meteorite from the Moon. Since then, Treiman has studied the martian meteorites extensively (both in petrology and geochemistry) and is a co-investigator on the CheMin instrument on the MSL Mars lander mission. In the NLSI team, he will focus on the metamorphic products of early lunar impact events - the Apollo granulite rocks. These rocks preserve clues to both the early impact history of the moon, and the target rocks for those impacts — the moon's earliest crust.

Richard J. Walker is a Professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland. He is also the director of the Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory. He conducts research in several areas of Earth and planetary science. These study areas include: 1) the accretional and differentiation histories of Earth, Moon and Mars, particularly, with respect to the evidence provided by highly-siderophile elements (including: Re, Os, Ir, Pt, Pd, Ru), 2) the formation and crystallization histories of early solar system planetesimals, with current emphasis on early condensates and core formational processes, and 3) the chemical evolution of the Earth’s mantle.  His work with the NASA Lunar Science Institute will focus on discerning and interpreting the chemical fingerprints of large impactors that contributed matter to the Moon and Earth between the time of primary accretion, and the end of the late heavy bombardment period (~3.8 Ga).  Of particular interest will be the characteristics of the earliest impact materials preserved in lunar breccias. Research will also be focused on the comparative metal-silicate partitioning characteristics of highly siderophile elements under lunar magma ocean conditions.

Mike Zolensky has been a space scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center since 1985, primarily elucidating of the mineralogy of the early Solar System.  He is an authority on the use of X-ray diffraction, electron beam, synchrotron beam, and Raman analyses of meteorites, interplanetary dust, cometary samples, and asteroid and lunar regolith. In the course of his career he has led or participated in successful meteorite recovery expeditions on five continents, pushed development of techniques for characterization of meteoroid and space debris impact features on spacecraft, led the effort to characterize the impact record of the Long Duration Exposure Facility, developed new techniques for the analysis of microparticles, characterized the chemical weathering record of asteroids, primitive mineralogy of comets, lead efforts to locate and characterize aqueous fluid inclusions in meteorites, and led preliminary mineralogical characterization efforts for returned Wild 2 samples.  Dr. Zolensky is the Curator for NASA’s collections of interplanetary dust, space-exposed hardware, and Comet Wild-2 samples.  He was/is on the science teams of the Stardust and Hayabusa Missions.  He is a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society and the Mineralogical Society of America.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Amy Fagan is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration.  Her PhD research investigated the composition of impact melt samples from the Apollo 16 landing site on the Moon.  As part of the NLSI effort, she will extend her studies to granulitic and regolith breccia samples from several Apollo landing sites.  Additional information can be found on Dr. Fagan’s website.

Marion Grange is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Applied Geology of Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia. During her PhD, she specialised in isotopic geochemistry, in the aim to understand origin (mantle source) and geodynamic emplacement of rocks in using mainly U-Pb dating by TIMS (zircon and titanite) and Pb-Sr-Hf isotope tracing. She is currently focused on the primitive geochemical evolution of both Earth and Moon in studying isotopic systems of ancient materials on both bodies. Her present work concentrates on impact melt breccias from the Moon. Specifically, she is interested in the geochronology and geochemistry of minerals such as zircon, apatite and merrillite to study the early magmatic and impact history of the Moon. Her recent research involves careful imaging of the grains to understand their textural relationships with the matrix of the breccias together with spatially-resolved, precise U-Pb dating using ion-microprobe. In the framework of the NLSI, she will focus her work on the precise timing of lunar impact events, from the Apollo sample collection.

Debra Hurwitz is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration.  Her PhD research investigated the formation of sinuous rilles by lava erosion on all of the terrestrial planetary bodies, including the Moon.  As part of the NASA Lunar Science Institute initiative, her research focuses on the evolution of impact melt pools that were generated during the basin-forming epoch of the Moon, linking the petrogenesis of those materials with observations of lunar surface properties.  Additional information can be found on Dr. Hurwitz’s website.

Katherine Joy is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration. She studies the petrology and geochemistry of lunar meteorites and as part of the NLSI effort, she will extend her studies to Apollo samples of the lunar regolith and the impact processes they represent.  Joy is also a Co-Investigator of the D-CIXS and C1XS miniaturized X-ray fluorescence instruments that were/are part of the scientific payload on ESA’s SMART-1 and India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar missions. Additional information can be found on Dr. Joy’s website.

Georgiana Kramer is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration. Her Ph. D. thesis combined analytical geochemistry and petrogenetic modeling of collected lunar samples with multispectral remote sensing data analysis. Between 2007-2010 she was an adjunct team member of the Dawn mission, Rosetta's VIRTIS instrument, and Chandrayaan-1's Moon Mineralogy Mapper. Her research interests include the chemistry and mineralogy of the Moon, asteroids, and other planetary surfaces through integrated sample and remote sensing data analysis. She studies the physical and spectral effects of space weathering and impact gardening on the evolution of the lunar regolith. The end result of her work is to advance a model to determine and map the pristine compositions of discrete lunar crustal bedrock units. Her role in the NLSI is to analyze and interpret spectroscopic data of the Moon, and support integration those analyses with results from other CLSE researchers. Additional information can be found on Dr. Kramer's website.

Véronique Le Roux is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Rice University.  Her main research is focused on the geochemistry and evolution of the Earth mantle, geodynamics, and rock physics. She has been working on melt-rock reactions and melt-assisted deformation in mantle peridotites, using elemental and isotopic geochemistry and petrophysics. She is also interested in the evolution of the early solar system and, as part of the NLSI effort, she is studying transition metal systematics in achondrites to constrain processes of planetary accretion and differentiation. Additional information can be found on Dr. Le Roux’s website.

Amanda Nahm is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration. Her research focuses on determining geologic histories of planetary bodies using structural and photogeologic analyses. As part of the NLSI, her research will be focused on the structural aspects of the formation and deformation of Orientale Basin. Additional information can be found on Dr. Nahm’s website.

Takafumi Niihara is a Postdoctoral Fellow working in the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration at LPI, as part of the NASA Lunar Science Institute effort.  He is interested in petrology, mineralogy, geochemistry and geochronology of shock metamorphosed materials. Previously, Niihara studied the petrology and mineralogy of impact-melted H chondrites, shock-recovery and annealing experiments on U-Pb isotope systematics of baddeleyite (ZrO2), and petrology and geochronology of Shergottites (Martian meteorites).  He is currently studying impact-melt clasts in Apollo samples to clarify the origin of the clasts and surface evolution of the Moon using petrological, geochemical and geochronological techniques.

Teemu Öhman is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration. His earlier studies focused on different aspects of planetary and terrestrial impact cratering, in particular the craters on Mars, Venus, and in Finland. His current work with the NASA Lunar Science Institute deals with photogeologic analysis of impact melt deposits in lunar complex craters. Additional information can be found on Dr. Öhman’s website.

Ross Potter is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration.  His Ph.D. work focused on understanding the formation of large (basin)-scale asteroid impact craters using numerical modeling. Now, as part of the NASA Lunar Science Institute, his research will be focused on numerically modeling lunar impact cratering processes.  Additional information can be found on Dr. Potter’s website.

Axel Wittmann is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration.  After studying granulite-facies metamorphic rocks and mantle rocks he became interested in the petrology of impactites. Since then, he contributed to the studies of a deep drill core into the Chicxulub and Chesapeake Bay impact craters, the shock metamorphism of zircon, and impact melts of ordinary chondrites.  Research interests are the formation and emplacement processes recorded in impactites.  In the framework of the NLSI, he will focus on the formation and geological setting of lunar impactites. Additional information can be found on Dr. Wittmann’s website.



Kepler crater

Lunar Science and Exploration Information Portal

SSERVI Central (at NASA Ames)

Other SSERVI Teams
   Ames Research Center
   Applied Physics Laboratory
   Brown University - MIT
   Goddard Space Flight Center
   Southwest Research Institute
   Stony Brook University
   University of Central Florida
   University of Colorado

Previous NLSI Member Teams
   Applied Physics Laboratory
   Brown University
   Goddard Space Flight Center
   Southwest Research Institute
   University of Colorado (a)
   University of Colorado (b)

International NLSI Partners
   Canada
   Germany
   Israel
   Korea
   Netherlands
   Saudi Arabia
   United Kingdom

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