LPI Scientists on Extended Missions to Explore the Solar System

May 2, 2022

LPI Scientists on Extended Missions to Explore the Solar System

NASA recently announced the extension of eight planetary science missions due to the high-quality science produced during their current mission phase and the significant potential for new discoveries in the future. These extended missions leverage NASA’s large investment to perform continued science operations at a cost far lower than developing a new mission.

“I am excited about the future science that these missions will be able to conduct, paving new paths while building upon the work they have done in the past,” NASA Planetary Science Division Director Lori Glaze said in a statement. “I commend the teams for their successful operations during the previous mission phases, and I thank the more than 50 members of the community on the review panels that helped to evaluate these missions.”

The extended missions are Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight); Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); New Horizons; Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN); Mars Odyssey; Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO); Mars Science Laboratory (MSL); and Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-APophis EXplorer (OSIRIS-APEX). LPI scientists are co-investigators on four of the missions that have been extended.

“The LPI is very pleased that many of our scientists remain active science team members through these NASA mission extensions,” said Lisa Gaddis, director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute. “Our involvement in these important missions points to the significance of their contributions to NASA and to the continued exploration of our solar system.”

Dr. Julie Stopar is a co-investigator on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team and a Mini-RF team member. Stopar plays an active role in both the science and operations of the LROC, a suite of cameras currently in orbit around the Moon on NASA’s LRO spacecraft.

Dr. Allan Treiman is a science co-investigator for the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument, an X-ray diffractometer that is a principal science instrument on NASA’s MSL mission. The instrument’s main job is to study the mineralogy and chemical composition of rocks and soil on the martian surface.

Dr. Germán Martínez is a team member of NASA’s MSL mission, where he analyzes the meteorological conditions around the rover measured daily by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS).

Dr. Paul Schenk is a co-investigator on NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond, responsible for cartography and topography of these distant planetary bodies.

Dr. Edgard Rivera-Valentín is the Planetary Defense Lead on NASA’s OSIRIS-APEX mission.

The Planetary Mission Senior Review was conducted over a six-week period in February through March 2022. The PMSR Final Report is available at https://www.lpi.usra.edu/NASA-academies-resources/PMSR22-Final-Report-Package.pdf.

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