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Lunar and Planetary Institute

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Inspiration and Exploration Since 1968

1970s
1970
  • January 4
    Lunar Science Institute Program

    Thomas O. Paine, NASA Administrator, speaks at the dedication of the Lunar Science Institute.

  • January 5–8
    Apollo 11 Lunar Science Conference

    The Apollo 11 Lunar Science Conference is held in Houston, Texas. The conference was the precursor to the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, now in its 49th year.

  • May 13–14
    William W. Rubey

    The first meeting of the Lunar Sample Review Board, with William W. Rubey as Chairman, meets at LSI.

  • September 12
    Luna 16

    The Soviets launch Luna 16, which is the first robotic spacecraft to successfully return lunar soil.

1971
  • July 26–August 7
    Apollo 15 astronauts drive in the first lunar rover

    Apollo 15 astronauts drive in the first lunar rover.

  • November 13
    Mariner 9

    Mariner 9 is the first spacecraft to orbit Mars, mapping 100% of the martian surface.

1972
  • January 10–13
    Third Lunar Science Conference

    The Third Lunar Science Conference, co-sponsored by LSI and NASA, moves from downtown Houston to the Manned Spacecraft Center.

  • March 2
    Pioneer 10

    Pioneer 10 is launched, returning the first close-up images of Jupiter in 1973.

  • July
    First LSI computer

    LSI acquires its first computer, a PDP 11/20 manufactured by the Digital Equipment Corporation.

  • December 7
    Apollo 17 is launched

    Apollo 17 is launched, the final mission of the Apollo program.

1973
  • January 10–12
    Geophysical and Geochemical Exploration of the Moon and Planets

    LSI sponsors and hosts the conference Geophysical and Geochemical Exploration of the Moon and Planets.

  • July 15
    David Strangway

    David Strangway is appointed LSI Interim Director.

  • September 1
    James Head

    James Head is appointed LSI Interim Director.

  • November 3
    Mariner 10 launches

    Mariner 10 launches toward Venus and Mercury.

1974
  • February
    Lunar Science Information Bulletin

    The first issue of the Lunar Science Information Bulletin is published.

  • March 29
    Mariner 10

    Mariner 10 is the first spacecraft to fly by Mercury.

  • March 18–22
    Fifth Lunar Science Conference

    The Fifth Lunar Science Conference is held, with 565 in attendance. The conference is dedicated to the late Dr. Paul W. Gast, who contributed so greatly to the lunar program.

  • June
    Robert O. Pepin

    Robert O. Pepin is appointed LSI Director.

1975
  • May 24–26
    Lunar Geology Short Course

    The Lunar Geology Short Course, offered to 25 junior-college earth science educators from Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, is the first educational initiative conducted by the LSI. The course was organized by Russ Merrill, Ron Greeley, and Pete Schultz.

  • May 31
    European Space Agency

    The European Space Agency is formed.

  • July 16
    Activities of the LSI

    A film crew from USSR national television files a short special on the function, organization, and activities of the LSI as part of their coverage of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) and the American space program.

  • August 20
    Soviet Venera 9 lander

    NASA launches Viking 1.

  • October 22
    Conference on Origins of Mare Basalts

    The Soviet Venera 9 lander returns with the first pictures from the surface of Venus.

  • November 17–19

    The Conference on Origins of Mare Basalts and Their Implications for Lunar Evolution is held. Discussions at the conference lead to the inception of the Basaltic Volcanism Study Project.

1976
  • January

    Alexander J. Dressler is named USRA President. USRA Headquarters moves to Houston, Texas.

  • July 20
    Viking 1

    Viking 1 lands on Mars.

  • August 22
    Luna 24

    The Luna 24 sample return mission to the Moon returns with 170 grams of lunar material.

  • September
    Space Shuttle Enterprise

    NASA publicly unveils the space shuttle Enterprise at a ceremony in Palmdale, California.

  • October 23–26
    Basaltic Volcanism Study Project

    The first inter-team meeting of the Basaltic Volcanism Study Project is held at LSI.

  • November 16-17
    Conference on Comparisons of Mercury and the Moon

    The Conference on Comparisons of Mercury and the Moon is hosted and sponsored by LSI. The meeting is the Institute's first conference in the area of comparative planetology.

1977
  • June
    LSI Summer Interns arrive

    The first class of LSI Summer interns arrives.

  • June 20
    Thomas R. McGetchin

    Thomas R. McGetchin is appointed LSI Director.

  • July
    Ames Vertical Ballistic Gun Range project

    LSI enters into partnership with NASA Ames to support a research program for the Ames Vertical Ballistic Gun Range.

  • August 15
    John R. Sevier

    John R. Sevier is appointed LSI Associate Director.

  • August 20
    Voyager 2

    Voyager 2 launches on a grand tour of the outer planets.

  • December 1-3
    Conference on Luna 24

    The Conference on Luna 24 is held in Houston.

1978
  • Date
    USRA Headquarters moves from Houston to Columbia, Maryland.

    USRA Headquarters moves from Houston to Columbia, Maryland.

  • January
    The Institute's name is changed from Lunar Science Institute to Lunar and Planetary Institute.

    The Institute's name is changed from Lunar Science Institute to Lunar and Planetary Institute.

  • January 19–20
    Caribbean Plate Workshop

    The Caribbean Plate Workshop, focusing on the western Caribbean, explores such geological issues as plate tectonics and volcanology. The workshop generates a three-year study project focusing on geodynamics and volcanology.

  • February 6-8

    The Workshop on Mars brings together Viking researchers to discuss igneous petrology and weathering processes on the Red Planet.

  • May 20
    Venus

    The U.S. Pioneer Venus Orbiter launches.

  • September 11–13
    Workshop on Experimental Approaches to Comets

    At the Workshop on Experimental Approaches to Comets, researchers discuss observational and modeling techniques and the Comet Rendezvous mission.

  • November 14–17
    Workshop on How to Explore for Lunar Resources

    At the Workshop on How to Explore for Lunar Resources, representatives from government, universities, and industry discuss concepts of lunar resource utilization, particularly in situ instrument needs.

  • December 21
    Venera 12

    Venera 12 enters the Venus atmosphere and lands on the surface.

1979
  • February 12–14
    Workshop on Ancient Crust of the Terrestrial Planets

    The Workshop on Ancient Crust of the Terrestrial Planets is held at the LPI.

  • March 8
    Voyager 1

    The first volcanic plume on Io is discovered in Voyager 1 images.

  • March 19–23
    10th LPSC

    The Tenth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference is held at the Gilruth Center, with 745 in attendance.

  • April 14–16
    Workshop on Glass and Ceramics Industry in Space Based on Lunar Materials

    At the Workshop on Glass and Ceramics Industry in Space Based on Lunar Materials, representatives from the glass and ceramic industry meet with researchers to discuss the feasibility of manufacturing glass and ceramics on the Moon.

  • June 1
    John R. Sevier

    John R. Sevier is appointed LPI Acting Director.

  • September 1
    Pioneer 11

    Pioneer 11 takes first close-up images as it reaches Saturn.

    • October 15
      Roger J. Phillips

      Roger J. Phillips is appointed LPI Director.

    • November 14–16
      Conference on the Lunar Highlands Crust

      The LPI Topical Conference on the Lunar Highlands Crust is held in Houston, resulting in the publication of the Proceedings of the Lunar Highlands Crust.


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