About Us Science Meetings Education Resources Analysis Groups The Moon

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


P. Spudis was invited to the ISECG Lunar Polar Volatiles Virtual Workshop on November 18th, as a panelist for the topic “Lunar Datasets.”

D. Kring convened a Polar Regolith Workshop Without Walls on December 3, at USRA-Houston that was designed to evaluate regolith properties that may affect rover trafficability in lunar permanently shadowed regions.  The output is being used by engineers building NASA’s Resource Prospector spacecraft which is currently scheduled for launch in late 2020 or early 2021.

Paper Submitted

A. Treiman, E. Harrington, and V. Sharpton (2015) Venus’ Radar-Bright Highlands: Different Signatures and Materials on Ovda Regio and on Maxwell Montes


P. Spudis had an appearance on Thespaceshow’s Blog, hosted by David Livingston , on December 11, 2015, TheSpaceShow.com.

P. Spudis was Interviewed and quoted by Leonard David, Space.com Lunar Leap: Europe Is Reaching for a Moon Base by the 2030s

P. McGovern was interviewed and quoted by Nola Taylor Redd, Smithsonian.com Venus May Have Surprisingly Youthful Skin


N. LeCorvec attended the 48th American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco, in the Volcanism and Tectonism across the Solar System session: N. Le Corvec, P. J. McGovern, E. Grosfils, R. Goldman, and J. Albright (2015) Effects of an extensional tectonic stress on magmatic reservoir failure and magma propagation within the Venusian lithosphere.

W. Kiefer gave an oral presentation “Apollinaris Mons: An Early Martian Mantle Plume?” at the 48th American Geophysical Union Meeting, San Francisco, CA on Dec 18, 2015.

D. Kring presented (December 15) at ESA-ESTEC the science and exploration objectives for the HERACLES mission concept, which is a 3-year-long lunar sample return mission concept that involves NASA’s Orion vehicle, an deep space facility at the Earth-Moon L2 position, and robotic assets on the lunar surface.  The study by Kring’s group compliments an ESA-led study of the hardware and operational requirements that was conducted for the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) and the Global Exploration Roadmap.  HERACLES concept partners are ESA, NASA, CSA, JAXA, DLR, and Roscosmos.



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