LPI Science Research Staff Announced as SSERVI Award Winners

July 21, 2014
Source:  SSERVI


NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) announced award winners today during the inaugural Exploration Science Forum (ESF), taking place this week at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

Paul Spudis, a Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), is the recipient of the 2014 Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal. The Medal, named after American geologist and one of the founders of planetary science, Eugene Shoemaker, was awarded to Spudis for his significant scientific contributions to the field of lunar science throughout the course of his scientific career.

Spudis was Deputy Leader of the Science Team for the Department of Defense Clementine mission to the Moon in 1994, the Principal Investigator of the Mini-SAR imaging radar experiment on India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008-2009, and a team member of the Mini-RF imaging radar on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission (2009-present). Among many notable awards and achievements, he was presented with the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2004, and the 2011 Space Pioneer Award from the National Space Society. He is the author or co-author of over 100 scientific papers and six books, including The Once and Future Moon, a book for the general public in the Smithsonian Library of the Solar System series, and co-author of The Clementine Atlas of the Moon, by Cambridge University Press.

Spudis is also a team member with the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE), a SSERVI team based at the LPI that is a collaborative effort between LPI and the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). Spudis joins Jeff Taylor (2011 recipient and current CLSE team member) and Ross Taylor (2012 recipient and former LPI visiting scientist and Heritage Fellow) as a recipient of this very distinguished medal.

This year SSERVI established the Susan Mahan Niebur Early Career Award, which is an annual award given to an early career scientist who has made significant contributions to the science or exploration communities. This year the prize was presented to two individuals, Simone Marchi of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and LPI, Katherine Joy, also from the LPI. The recipients are both researchers who are ten years out or less from their Ph.D. who have shown excellence in their field and demonstrated meaningful contributions to the science or exploration communities.

Joy investigates the crust formation processes, impacts, and space environment interactions in the evolution of planetary bodies using geochemical and chronological sample analysis and remote sensing data. She is an Early-Career Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, and was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the LPI and JSC. She is involved with several international planetary science missions, including Co-Investigator (Co-I) for the Demonstration of a Compact Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (D-CIXS); Co-I for the Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS); and Co-I for the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS) instrument that will fly onboard ESA’s BepiColumbo mission to Mercury. Her many awards include the 2013 Royal Astronomical Society’s Winton Capital Geophysics Prize and the Royal Holloway undergraduate student prize for Best Geological Fieldwork (2002) and Best Independent Geological Mapping Project (2003).

Marchi is most active in the field of terrestrial planets and asteroid collisional evolution. The rocky surfaces of these planets are “snapshots” of the bombardment history of the inner solar system. By studying these battered surfaces, researchers gain insights on the magnitude and frequency of early collisions in the inner solar system, including our own Earth. He is also the Associate Scientist of OSIRIS and VIRTIS onboard the ESA Rosetta mission; Associate Scientist of VIR onboard the NASA Dawn mission; Chair of the ESA MarcoPolo-R working group on crater properties; and external collaborator for the NASA MESSENGER mission Geology Discipline Group. The International Astronomical Union named Asteroid 72543 Simonemarchi in his honor, based on the significance of his research contributions.

“We look forward to future scientific discoveries from these individuals,” said Yvonne Pendleton, Director of SSERVI. “Their outstanding research efforts are vital to the ambitious activities of exploring the solar system with robots and humans we hope to achieve. Congratulations to Paul Spudis, Katherine Joy, and Simone Marchi for their achievements and contributions.”

For more information, visit

Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI)

Center for Lunar Science and Exploration


Community News home page

Last updated July 21, 2014