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About Us

The Lunar and Planetary Institute is a research institute that provides support services to NASA and the planetary science community, and conducts planetary science research under the leadership of staff scientists, visiting researchers, and postdoctoral fellows.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute was first described by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as “a center of research where scientists working in the sciences of space cooperate to profoundly affect the community’s knowledge of the universe.”  The Institute serves in three main capacities:

Research Science: The Institute is a center for lunar and planetary science, conducting research studies on the formation, evolution, and current state of the Moon, planets, comets, asteroids, planetary satellites, cosmic dust, and our solar system as a whole through analysis of data and samples obtained through NASA’s long history of missions and exploration. 

Service to NASA and the Planetary Science Community:  The Institute coordinates scientific meetings on lunar and planetary topics, and disseminates scientific information through technical journals and conferences, including an abstract database of more than 25,000 presentations made by scientists at LPI-sponsored meetings.  The Institute also curates an extensive collection of lunar and planetary data that is accessible online.

Education and Public Outreach:  The Institute develops education and public outreach programs that engage families, educators and students in space science and enhance the public appreciation of lunar and planetary science.

LPI Celebrates 40 Years: The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) is proud to celebrate 40 years of serving NASA and the lunar and planetary science community. Join us as we reflect on some of the events and people that have helped shape the course of the Institute's history over the past four decades.

Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Blvd.
Houston, TX  77058


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The LPI is managed by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), a national, nonprofit consortium of universities chartered in 1969 by the National Academy of Sciences at the request of NASA. USRA operates programs and institutes focused on research and education in most of the disciplines engaged in space-related science and engineering. Institutional membership in USRA now stands at 100 leading research universities.

The LPI is operated by USRA under a cooperative agreement with the Science Mission Directorate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  

Last updated March 25, 2015