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Scientific Staff Highlights Archive



September 2010


LPI Scientists in Discovery Mission Proposals!

Proposals for Discovery Spacecraft Missions were submitted to NASA on September 10, and LPI scientists are on five of them.

•LPI Director Dr. Stephen Mackwell is the Principal Investigator for a Venus orbiter mission, MuSAR, which features a synthetic aperture radar system. Dr. Paul Spudis is a co-investigator on that proposal.  

•Dr. Allan Treiman is a co-Investigator for a Venus orbiter mission, VERITAS (the P.I. is S. Smrekar of JPL), which features synthetic aperture radar and a NIR imaging spectrometer.

•Dr. Walter Kiefer is a co-Investigator for a Venus orbiter mission, VRRO (the P.I. is -- of NASA Goddard), which features a synthetic aperture radar system.

•Dr. Patrick McGovern is a co-Investigator for a Venus orbiter mission, RAVEN (the P.I. is V. Sharpton of the University of Alaska, formerly on the LPI science staff and now a visiting scientist), which also features a synthetic aperture radar system.

•And, Dr. Walter Kiefer is a co-Investigator on the Lunette mission (C. Neal of Notre Dame University is PI), a lunar geophysical network without any Venus radar capabilities.

Mars Science Laboratory Mission: LPI Participation

LPI Staff Scientist Dr. Allan Treiman attended the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Spacecraft Team Meeting and the MSL Landing Site Workshop, in his role as a science co-Investigator for the CheMin instrument. CheMin, an X-ray diffractometer, is a principal science instrument on MSL http://msl-scicorner.jpl.nasa.gov/Instruments/CheMin/, and will produce definitive identifications of mineralogies and compositions of rocks and soils on the Martian surface. Treiman contributes his broad experience in martian meteorites, petrology, mineralogy, and low-temperature aqueous alteration to the project. MSL is scheduled for launch in approximately December 2011, and landing on Mars late 2012 (http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/). Four possible landing sites are under consideration, and were discussed at length at the 4th MSL Landing Site Workshop (http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/msl/workshops/4th_workshop/program.html, http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002682/ ).

LPI Scientist in “Desert RATS"

Dr. David Kring, Senior Scientist, participated in NASA’s “Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS).” These field exercises are for testing and validating equipment and procedures that might be used in planetary missions. This September’s exercise was held near Flagstaff, AZ (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/analogs/desert_rats.html, http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/desertRats/).

LPI Scientist funded by NASA Cosmochem

Dr. Motoo Ito, a Visiting Scientist working at Johnson Space Center, received a three-year grant from the NASA Cosmochemistry Program. Dr. Ito was funded for “Experimental Study of Oxygen-Isotope Exchange in Melilite during Hydrothermal Alteration.” This research will provide ndew insights into aqueous alteration of materials in the early solar system and pre-solar nebula.

LPI Scientist Presents Mission Results

Dr. Paul Spudis, Senior Staff Scientist, is PI and co-I on two radar instruments that are on lunar orbiters. He presented new results to the NLSI polar processes science team and to the European Planetary Science Congress meeting.

LPI Science Staff Research Progress – September 2010

Crawford I.A., Fagents S.A., Joy K.H., and Rumpf E.M. (2010) Lunar palaeoregolith deposits as recorders of the galactic environment of the solar system and implications for astrobiology. Earth, Moon, and Planets 108x, in press. DOI: 10.1007/s11038-010-9358-z.