Lunar and Planetary Institute
Lunar and Planetary Institute



Dr. Paul Spudis Announced as Chief Scientist of Google Lunar X PRIZE Contender Odyssey Moon Limited

July 24, 2008
Source:  Odyssey Moon

Dr. Paul SpudisDr. Paul D. Spudis, senior staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, has been named Chief Scientist of Odyssey Moon Limited, the first official contender for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE. Spudis is a prominent scientist in the international lunar community and served as deputy science team leader for the highly successful Clementine lunar mission and is the Principal Investigator of the Mini-SAR imaging radar experiment on the forthcoming Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon. Spudis is an outspoken advocate of the Moon as a focus of scientific exploration and human settlement and has served on numerous advisory committees, including the U.S. Presidential Commission on the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. The announcement was made during the recent NASA Lunar Science Institute conference at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

Spudis has an extensive background in geology and planetary science, including interpretation of remote-sensing and image data. He will be applying his combined passions for science and lunar development to help Odyssey Moon deliver a valuable scientific mission while pursuing the $30 Million Google Lunar X PRIZE and an ongoing commercial lunar enterprise. “Evidence indicates that abundant energy and material resources exist on the Moon, including deposits of ice within craters at the poles,” he said. “Returning to the Moon will teach us the skills we need to live and work productively on other worlds.”

Odyssey Moon CEO Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards says the addition of Spudis to the Odyssey Moon Executive Team broadens and strengthens the scientific capability for the commercial company. “Paul is a persistent champion of the value of the Moon to the human species,” Richards said. “He understands the Moon’s role in furthering human knowledge and securing a prosperous future and he has the experience and the credentials to help us make it happen.”

In addition to serving as Principal Investigator of the mini-SAR experiment on the Chandrayaan-1 mission launching in 2008, Spudis is also a team member of the mini-RF technology demonstration experiment onboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, also bound for the Moon later this year. Prior to this he was Principal Investigator in the Planetary Geology Program of the NASA Office of Space Science, Solar System Exploration Division, specializing in research on the processes of impact and volcanism on the planets. He served on NASA’s Lunar and Planetary Sample Team (LAPST), which advised on the allocations of lunar samples for scientific research. He is also a member of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Science Working Group (LEXSWG), which devised scientific strategies of lunar exploration, and the Planetary Geology Working Group, which monitors overall directions in the planetary research community. Spudis served on the Committee for Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX), an advisory committee of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Synthesis Group, a White House panel that in 1990–1991 analyzed a return to the Moon to establish a base and the first human mission to Mars.

Odyssey Moon Limited is a commercial lunar enterprise headquartered in the Isle of Man, and involves partners in many nations. The company was unveiled in December 2007 as the first official contender in the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, announcing a series of robotic missions to the Moon during the International Lunar Decade in support of science, commerce, and exploration. The company intends to offer frequent, low-cost, and reliable access to the lunar surface for private and government customers. Odyssey Moon is dedicated to the long-term responsible development of the Moon for the benefit of all humanity.

For more information, visit

Spudis Lunar Resources

Odyssey Moon

Google Lunar X PRIZE


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Last updated July 24, 2008