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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


The 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference was held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, The Woodlands, Texas, March 17–21, 2014.

This conference brought together international specialists in petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, geology, and astronomy to present the latest results of research in planetary science. This five-day conference was be organized by topical symposia and problem-oriented sessions.

Paper Accepted

A. L. Fagan, K. H. Joy, D. D. Bogard, and D. A. Kring "Ages of globally distributed lunar paleoregoliths and soils from 3.9 Ga to the present." Earth, Moon, and Planets. 2014.  To be printed in April.

P. Byrne, "Analogue modelling of volcano flank terrace formation on Mars." Geological Society of London Special Publication Volcanism and Tectonism in the Inner Solar System. 2014.

P. Byrne "Mercury’s global contraction much greater than earlier estimates." Published online as Article in Nature Geoscience, News & Views; paper also features as cover image on April edition of Nature Geoscience.


W. Kiefer “Exploring Mars with the Curiosity Rover”, University of Houston Mars Rover Celebration, January 25, 2014.

W. Kiefer “Core Formation and Silicate-Metal Equilibration on Asteroid 4 Vesta”, Vesta in the Light of Dawn Workshop, Feb 4, 2014.

W. Kiefer “The Contribution of Impact Melt Sheets to Lunar Impact Basin Gravity Anomalies”, Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, March 18, 2014.

W. Kiefer “The Density, Porosity, and Magnetic Susceptibility of Martian Meteorites as Constraints on Gravity Models”, Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, March 18, 2014.

P. Byrne "Deep-Seated Contractional Tectonics in Mare Crisium, the Moon", Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, March 18, 2014.

P. Byrne "The Global Contraction of Mercury", Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, March 19, 2014.

Co- Chaired

P. Byrne March 18: Co-chaired, and gave an oral presentation in, the "Lunar Geophysical Evolution" session at LPSC 45.

P. Byrne March 19: Co-chaired, and gave an oral presentation in, the "Mercury" session at LPSC 45.

Mentioned in the News

P. Byrne 'Wrinkled Mercury's shrinking history,"



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Positions Available
Scientist positions available at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

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