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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 Archive


Kiefer W. presented “Mars Volcanism and Tectonism”, for the United Space School at University of Houston Clear Lake, on July 22, 2016.

Spudis P., attended and resented at Regional Planetary Image Facility Review, NASA HQ, Washington DC, on July 6-8, 2016.


Spudis P. was invited talk on "[url= ]Return to the Moon[/url,]” presented at Moon Day held at Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas TX, on July 16, 2016.

Spudis P. was invited talk on return to the Moon at the River Oaks Breakfast Club, River Oaks Country Club, Houston TX, on July 20, 2016.

Published Paper

Gong S., Wieczorek M.A., Nimmo F., Kiefer W.S., Head J.W., Huang C., Smith D.E., and Zuber M.T., “Thickness of mare basalts on the Moon from gravity and topography”, J. Geophys. Research: Planets 121, 854-870, 2016.
I had 3 co-authored papers published in the July 15, 2016 issue of Icarus:

Ashley, J. W., Robinson M.S., Stopar J.D., Glotch T.D.,Hawke B.R., Van der Bogert C.H., Hiesinger H., Lawrence S.J., Jolliff B.L., Greenhagen B.T., Giguere T.A., Paige D.A. (2016) “The Lassell Massif – A silicic lunar volcano”, Icarus 273: 248-261. Web article link

Speyerer, E. J., Lawrence S.J., Stopar J.D., Glaser P., Robinson M.S., Jolliff B.L. (2016) “Optimized traverse planning for future polar prospectors based on high resolution lunar topography, Icarus 273: 337-345. Web article link

Clegg-Watkins, R. N., Jolliff B.L., Boyd A., Robinson M.S., Wagner R., Stopar J.D., Plescia J.B., Speyerer E.J. (2016) “Photometric characterization of the Chang`e-3 landing site using LROC NAC Images”, Icarus 273: 84-95. Web article link



LPI Summer Intern Program
Experience cutting-edge research with LPI or JSC scientist mentors

Exploration Science Summer Intern Program
Work with a scientist mentor to integrate science priorities with NASA's lunar exploration initiatives

Positions Available
Scientist positions available at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

Student Research Grants
Annual awards for research funding in the planetary sciences