Lunar and Planetary Institute

Science at LPI

The science at the Lunar and Planetary Institute is focused on the formation, evolution, and current state of our solar system through analysis of data and samples obtained through NASA's long history of missions and exploration.  Our current major research topics include the origin and evolution of the early solar system; petrology and geochemistry of planetary materials and volatiles; planetary interiors, volcanism, and tectonism; and impact cratering.

Research Foci

Lunar Science and Exploration
Resources to support the scientific research and exploration strategy of the Moon

Center for Lunar Science and Exploration
The Center for Lunar Science and Exploration is part of the NASA Lunar Science Institute and is designed to investigate lunar science issues, develop strategies for future lunar exploration, and train a new community of talent that will be needed to assure the success of the Constellation Program.

Staff Highlights


Barnes J., Kring D., Tarese R, Franchi I.A., Anand, M. and Russell S.S. , published a paper in Nature titled An asteroidal origin for water in the Moon. Nature Communications 7,11684 doi:10.1038/ncomms11684, Received 18 January 2016.

Schmieder M., Kring D., Swindle T.D., Bond J.C., and Moore C.B., article was published in June 2016 issue of Meteoritics & Planetary Science The Gao-Guenie impact melt breccia—Sampling a rapidly cooled impact melt dike on an H chondrite asteroid?

Schenk P. article Convection in a volatile nitrogen-ice-rich layer drives Pluto’s geological vigour was in Nature International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature 534, 82–85 (02 June 2016)  doi:10.1038/nature18289

Schenk P. and Nimmo F. was published in Nature Geoscience, June 1, 2016, titled New Horizons at Pluto.  Nature Geoscience 9, 411–412 (2016) doi:10.1038/ngeo2729.

Book Published

Spudis P.D. (2016) The Value of the Moon: How to Explore, Live and Propser in Space Using the Moon's Resources.  Smithsonian Books, Washington DC, 243 pp.


Kring D. gave a lecture at the  Houston Museum of Natural Science, Lunar Exploration, A Captivating Science, May 26.

Kiefer W. gave an invited seminar on “GRAIL Mission Constraints on the Thermal Structure and Evolution of the Moon” at the New Views of the Moon 2 workshop, May 25 at LPI.

Craig P. was a co-author on a presentation at the Biosignatures Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments I: Paleo-Hydrothermal Systems. The poster was entitled: “Nontronite and Montmorillonite as nutrient sources for life on Mars”.

Craig P. spoke to students at K.E. Little Elementary School for their annual Space Day.

Submitted Paper

Craig P. submitted a paper for publication in Planetary and Space Sciences entitled “Spectral Analysis of Deccan Intrabasaltic Bole Beds: Implications for the Formation and Alteration of Phyllosilicates on Mars”.


Spudis P. was interviewed by title “Is the Moon Our Ticket to the Solar System? Q&A with Author Paul D. Spudis”.

Spudis P. was interviewed by titled “The Value Of The Moon: How To Explore, Live, And Prosper In Space Using The Moon's Resources.”

Spudis P. made a radio appearance on The Space Show, May 1, 2016.

Spudis P. made a radio appearance on Houston Matters, Houston Public Media, May 18, 2016.

Spudis P. a radio appearance on The Jefferson Exchange, Oregon Public Radio, May  26, 2016.


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