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.
Resources to support the scientific research and exploration strategy of the Moon
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.
The LPI Summer Interns invites twelve upper-level undergraduates to work one-on-one with a scientist at the LPI or at NASA Johnson Space Center on a cutting-edge research problem in lunar and planetary science. The 10-week program runs from June 1 throught August 7.
Exploration Science Summer Intern Program is a 10-week program runs from May 26 through July 31, is led by D. Kring, the program is designed to have the impact on future exploration activities, but has a broader scope that includes both the Moon and near-Earth asteroids. This will be a unique team activity that should foster extensive discussions among students and senior science team members.
D. Kring, J. Blackwell, and D. Hurwitz released a new video and sound track that uses the latest lunar data to illustrate a potential human-assisted lunar sample return mission using NASA’s Orion vehicle. High-definition versions of the video can be downloaded “ Sampling the Lunar Farside in the South Pole-Aitken's Schrödinger Basin.”
P. Spudis was highlighted on Space.com, titled “Going Back to the Moon: Q&A with Planetary Scientist Paul Spudis.”
D. Kring was highlighted on May 27 in “Postcards from the Field Earth and Space Scientists Share their Fieldwork.” While he was surveying at Barringer Meteorite Crater.
W. S. Kiefer, J Filiberto, C. Sandu, and Q. Li (2015) The effects of mantle composition on the peridotite solidus: Implications for the magmatic history of Mars. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 162, 247-258.
D. J. Stevenson et al. (including W. S. Kiefer), Probing the Interior Structure of Venus, Caltech Keck Institute for Space Studies, 85 pages, May 2015.
C. Johnson et al (including P. Byrne) Low-altitude magnetic field measurements by MESSENGER reveal Mercury’s ancient crustal field.
W. Kiefer performed helium pycnometry and laser volume scanning measurements on 8 Apollo lunar rocks in the Johnson Space Center Lunar Sample Lab, May 26-28. These measurements were performed to determine the density and porosity of the rocks and were made to support gravity modeling with data from NASA’s GRAIL mission.
N. Le Corvec, P. J. McGovern, E.B. Grosfils, and G. Galgana (2015) Effects of crustal-scale mechanical layering on magma chamber failure and magma propagation within the Venusian lithosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets (accepted)
LPI Summer Intern Program
Experience cutting-edge research with LPI or JSC scientist mentors
Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program
Work with a scientist mentor to integrate science priorities with NASA's lunar exploration initiatives
Scientist positions available at the Lunar and Planetary Institute
Student Research Grants
Annual awards for research funding in the planetary sciences