Spudis to Receive Columbia Medal

March 8, 2016

Paul D. Spudis

Paul D. Spudis, a Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas, is the recipient of the 2016 Columbia Medal for his contributions that advance aerospace engineering.

Spudis was selected by the Aerospace Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers for his outstanding service as a geologist specializing in the terrestrial planets, with extensive background in geology and planetary science, including interpretation of remote-sensing and image data and integrated studies with information from planetary samples. The award presentation will take place during the Earth and Space Conference Engineering for Extreme Environments in Orlando, Florida, on April 14, 2016.

Spudis’ research focuses on the processes of impact and volcanism on the planets and studies of the requirements for a sustainable human presence on the Moon. He has served as Deputy Leader of the Science Team for the Department of Defense’s Clementine mission to the Moon in 1994, Principal Investigator of the Mini-SAR imaging radar experiment on India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008–2009, and team member for the Mini-RF imaging radar on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission (2009–present).

Spudis has also served as a member of the White House Synthesis Group in 1990–1991 and on the President’s Commission on the Implementation of U. S. Space Exploration Policy in 2004, and was presented with the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal that same year. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2006 Von Karman Lectureship in Astronautics, awarded by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics; a 2011 Space Pioneer Award from the National Space Society; and the 2014 Eugene M. Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award, presented by the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

Spudis is the author or co-author of over 115 scientific papers and seven books, including The Once and Future Moon, a book for the general public in the Smithsonian Library of the Solar System series; The Clementine Atlas of the Moon, published by Cambridge University Press; and the forthcoming The Value of the Moon:  How to Explore, Live and Prosper in Space Using the Moon’s Resources, to be published in April 2016 by Smithsonian Books.

For more information, visit

Spudis Lunar Resources

2016 Columbia Medal Acceptance Speech



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Last updated April 20, 2016