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Lunar and Planetary Institute

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Inspiration and Exploration Since 1968

1980s
1980
  • February 19
    Solar Max Satellite

    NASA’s Solar Max Satellite launches to monitor the Sun.

  • April 9–13
    Meteorite Working Group

    The first meeting of the Meteorite Working Group is held under LPI administration.

  • July 21
    McGetchin Hall

    McGetchin Hall, named after former Director Thomas McGetchin, is dedicated. The new building houses the computer center(s) and photolibrary.

  • August 7–8
    Planetary Geology Review Panel

    Eleven members of the planetary geology community meet for the first time as the Planetary Geology Review Panel. The group is tasked with advising the Planetary Geology Discipline Scientist on the merits of approximately 30 research proposals.

  • August 12
    New computer equipment

    The LPI Computer Center undergoes major expansion with the installation of its new state-of-the-art computer room, housing a Digital Equipment Corporation VAX 11/780, replacing the former PDP 11/45.

  • November 10–12
    Conference on Multi-Ring Basins

    The Conference on Multi-Ring Basins: Formation and Evolution is held in Houston. Convened by Peter Schultz and Carroll Ann Hodges, the conference results in the publication of the volume Multi-Ring Basins.

  • November 13–15
    Workshop on Apollo 16

    The Workshop on Apollo 16 is held at the LPI. Convened by Odette James and Fred Hörz, the workshop is the first of a series of meetings organized by the Lunar and Planetary Sample Team (LAPST) as part of the Highlands Initiative, an effort aimed at the improved understanding of the early evolution of the lunar crust.

1981
  • March
    Paul J. Coleman Jr.

    Paul J. Coleman Jr. is named USRA President.

  • March 18
    Chili Cook-Off and BBQ

    The first LPSC Chili Cook-Off and BBQ is held on the LPI grounds.

  • April 14
    STS-1

    The first shuttle mission, STS-1, ends with the successful landing of Columbia at Edwards Air Force Base. The first shuttle astronaut debriefing was held at the LPI over the next two days.

  • October 19–22
    Conference on Large Body Impacts and Terrestrial Evolution

    The Conference on Large Body Impacts and Terrestrial Evolution: Geological, Climatological, and Biological Implications is held in Snowbird, Utah. The first of what will come to be simply known as the “Snowbird Conferences,” the conference represents a defining moment in the impact-extinction hypothesis debate.

  • November 12–17
    Early Crustal Genesis of Terrestrial Planets Study Project

    The first meeting of the Early Crustal Genesis of Terrestrial Planets Study Project is held at the LPI.

1982
  • March 1
    Venera 13

    Soviet spacecraft Venera 13 lands on the surface of Venus; Venera 14 lands four days later.

  • March 12
    Planetary Science cover

    LPI publishes Planetary Science: A Lunar Perspective by S. Ross Taylor.

  • April 1
    Kevin Burke

    Kevin Burke is appointed LPI Deputy Director.

  • April 15-16
    Workshop on Lunar Bases

    The Workshop on Lunar Bases, convened by Larry Haskin, is held at the LPI. The purpose of the workshop is to evaluate the future of lunar studies and discuss the long-range prospect of a potential lunar base.

  • April 20-22
    Venus Tectonics

    The Workshop on Venus Tectonics is convened by Roger Phillips and Sean Solomon. The workshop is designed to facilitate discussion among scientists directly involved in Venus research.

  • September 8-9
    Image Processing Facility

    The Image Processing Facility at the LPI is created to operate under the computer center.

  • October 9-12
    Conference on Planetary Volatiles

    The Conference on Planetary Volatiles, co-sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation, is held in Alexandria, Minnesota.

  • November 15-17
    Conference on Chrondrules and their Origins

    The Conference on Chondrules and their Origins is held at LSI.

1983
  • April 25
    Pioneer 10

    Pioneer 10 crosses the orbit of Neptune and becomes the first space vehicle to leave the solar system.

  • June 18
    STS-7

    STS-7, a space shuttle Challenger mission, launches with the first female astronaut, Sally Ride.

  • August 17
    Hurricane Alicia

    Hurricane Alicia devastates the Texas Gulf Coast. The Institute escapes relatively unscathed, but massive power outages result in a two-week shutdown of operations.

  • September 1
    Kevin Burke

    Kevin Burke is appointed LPI Director.

  • September 3-4
    Workshop on Past and Present Solar Radiation

    The Workshop on Past and Present Solar Radiation: The Record in Meteoritic and Lunar Regolith Materials, convened by Dave McKay and Bob Pepin and sponsored by the LPI, is held at the Max-Planck Institute in Germany.

  • December
    Chondrules and Their Origins

    LPI publishes Chondrules and Their Origins, edited by Elbert A. King. The book is a result of the conference of the same name held in November 1982.

1984
  • March 1
    Landsat 5

    Landsat 5, the fifth satellite of the Landsat program, launches. Its primary goal is to provide a global archive of satellite photos of Earth.

  • March 12-18
    15th LPSC

    The Fifteenth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference is held at the Gilruth Center, with 500 in attendance.

  • October 13-16
    Conference on the Origin of the Moon

    The Conference on the Origin of the Moon is held in Kona, Hawaii. This pivotal conference (often referred to simply as the “Kona Conference”) leads to the consensus view that the Moon formed from a giant impact with Earth.

  • October 29-31
    Symposium on Lunar Bases

    The Symposium on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, sponsored by the LPI, is held in Washington, DC.

  • November 30–December 1

    The Mars: Evolution of its Climate and Atmosphere (MECA) study project begins with its first workshop, Water on Mars.

1985
  • April 21-22
    Workshop on Clouds on Mars

    The Workshop on Clouds on Mars is held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Convened by Bruce Jakosky, the workshop is an activity of the MECA (Mars: Evolution of its Climate and Atmosphere) study project, organized and sponsored by LPI.

  • June 22-July 2
    The World’s Oldest Rocks

    An Early Crustal Genesis field workshop, The World’s Oldest Rocks, is conducted by Kevin Burke, Lew Ashwal, and Bill Phinney. The workshop is held in the Godthab district of West Greenland, bringing together scientists in the fields of terrestrial and planetary geochemistry, geology, and geophysics to examine firsthand the remnants of the earliest terrestrial crust.

  • August 14
    Summer Intern Conference

    David Gust and Jim Zimbelman, LPI scientists in charge of the summer intern program, conduct a “mini-conference” at which the interns have an opportunity to present their research to an audience of their colleagues, advisors, and other interested scientists and staff at LPI and JSC. The conference is a success, and signals the start of the annual summer intern conference.

  • October 10-12
    Conference on Heat and Detachment in Crustal Extension

    An LPI topical conference on Heat and Detachment in Crustal Extension on Continents and Planets is held in Sedona, Arizona. Convened by Ivo Lucchitta, Larry Soderblom, and Paul Morgan, the conference is co-sponsored by NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the Rio Grande Rift Consortium.

  • November 13-15
    Workshop on Geology and Petrology of the Apollo 15 Landing Site

    The Workshop on Geology and Petrology of the Apollo 15 Landing Site, convened by Graham Ryder and Paul Spudis, is held at the LPI. Invited speakers include James Irwin and David Scott, Apollo 15 astronauts, and a two-hour film of the Apollo 15 EVAs is shown at a special evening session.

  • December
    Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century

    LPI completes production of Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, edited by W. W. Mendell.

1986
  • January 16-18
    Workshop on the Tectonic Evolution of Greenstone Belts

    The Workshop on the Tectonic Evolution of Greenstone Belts is held at LPI. Convened by Maarten de Wit and Lew Ashwal, the purpose of the workshop is to increase understanding of the tectonic evolution of greenstone belts in order to better understand events geological events occurring during the first 80 million years of Earth history.

  • March 11
    Giotto spacecraft

    ESA's Giotto spacecraft flies within 596 km of the nucleus of Comet Halley, returning closeup images.

  • April
    Origin of the Moon

    LPI publishes Origin of the Moon, edited by W. K. Hartmann, R. J. Phillips, and G. J. Taylor. The book is a collection of original research and review papers that provide a synthesis of models and theories about the formation of the Moon.

  • July 17-19
    MECA

    The MECA Symposium on Mars: The Evolution of Its Climate and Atmosphere is held at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Convened by Ted Maxwell and Ron Greeley, and co-sponsored by the LPI and the National Air and Space Museum, the symposium is scheduled to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Viking landing on Mars.

  • October 27

    NASA/SPAN network

    LPI is connected as an online mode to the NASA/SPAN network. SPAN is a wide-area network developed for the space and Earth science community that enables scientists at remote nodes to communicate with each other using electronic mail, terminal conference, and transparent file transfer and access.

  • December 16-18
    Workshop on the Origin of the Solar System

    The Workshop on the Origin of the Solar System is held at the Wye Conference Center near Queenstown, Maryland. Convened by Joe Nuth and Paul Sylvester, the objective of the workshop is to produce a document summarizing current thinking on the processes that occurred during the first eon of solar system history, providing the basis for a limited-scope interdisciplinary research project.

1987
  • March 15
    MEVTV

    LPI hosts an organizational meeting to kick off its latest study project, Mars: Evolution of Volcanism, Tectonism, and Volatiles (MEVTV).

  • April 23

    Richard A. F. Grieve is the LPI’s first Urey Visiting Fellow, a new program of short-term senior appointments designed to provide a distinguished scientist with the opportunity to pursue research interests while providing beneficial interaction with LPI and JSC scientists.

  • June
    Helene Thorson

    Helene Thorson is appointed LPI Assistant Director.

  • July 13-16
    Workshop on the Growth of Continental Crust

    The Workshop on the Growth of Continental Crust is held at the University of Oxford. The goal of the workshop, co-sponsored by the LPI as part of the Early Crustal Genesis Study Project, is to consider and discuss constraints on a fundamental unsolved problem relating to the growth rate of planetary crusts.

  • November 16-18
    Mars Sample Return Science Workshop

    The Mars Sample Return Science Workshop is held at the Nassau Bay Hilton in Clear Lake. The purpose of the LPI-sponsored workshop is to contribute to the activities of the Mars Rover Sample Return Science Working Group (MRSRSWG).

  • December
    Mercury Messenger newsletter

    LPI publishes the first issue of the Mercury Messenger newsletter. The co-editors of this publication, designed to provide a means for exchanging data and ideas and for planning collaborative activities regarding Mercury research, are Pamela Clark, Faith Vilas, and Tom Morgan.

  • December
    Tornado damage

    The Clear Lake area suffers a tornado strike. Luckily, most of the damage at the LPI is limited to the grounds, but a number of trees are lost or damaged.

1988
  • January 9-23
    Field Workshop on the Deep Continental Crust of South India

    The Field Workshop on the Deep Continental Crust of South India is held in Central and Southern India. Rupee funds for travel to and within India come from an NSF grant to LPI.

  • April 5-7
    Second Symposium on Lunar Bases and Space Activities

    The Second Symposium on Lunar Bases and Space Activities is held at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston. Attending the symposium are 555 representatives of the planetary science, engineering, medical, architectural, and other lunar-base-related research fields. LPI co-sponsors the meeting with JSC and AIAA.

  • May

    50th issue of the Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

    The 50th issue of the Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin is published.

  • August 15
    David Black

    David C. Black is appointed LPI Director.

  • October 20-22
    Global Catastrophes in Earth  History

    Global Catastrophes in Earth History: Conference on Impacts, Volcanism, and Mass Mortality is held in Snowbird, Utah. Kevin Burke and Robert Ginsburg are co-chairs of the conference, which is attended by 184 scientists representing 10 different countries. The proceedings of the conference are to be published as a GSA Special Paper.

  • November 14-16
    LAPST-initiated Workshop on Moon  in Transition

    The LAPST-initiated Workshop on Moon in Transition: Apollo 14, KREEP, and Evolved Lunar Rocks is held at the LPI. Jeff Taylor and Paul Warren are the conveners.

  • October 20-22
    LAPST

    The LPI topical conference on the Origin of the Earth is held in Berkeley, California. Convened by John Jones and Horton Newsom, plans are to publish a post-conference publication as a proceedings volume or special issue of a journal.

1989
  • January 16-18
    Workshop on the Analysis of Returned Comet Nucleus Samples

    LPI and NASA Ames Research Center co-sponsor a Workshop on the Analysis of Returned Comet Nucleus Samples in Milpitas, California. The workshop is convened by Sherwood Chang and Larry Nyquist.

  • February 12-15

    Origins of the Solar Systems Workshop

    LPI and NASA co-sponsor a workshop entitled Origins of the Solar Systems in Washington, DC. The goal of the worskhop, convened by Joe Nuth, is to determine the appropriate content and enclosures for the upcoming NASA Origins of the Solar Systems Research Announcement.

  • March 13-17

    The Twentieth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

    The Twentieth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference is held at the NASA Johnson Space Center, with 729 in attendance. Special events in honor of the 20th anniversary of the conference include a public session organized by NASA JSC and NASA Headquarters entitled “Opportunities in Solar System Exploration,” followed by a banquet at the South Shore Harbour Conference Center.

  • May 4
    Magellan

    Magellan launches. The primary objectives of the mission are to map the surface of Venus with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and to determine the topographic relief of the planet.

  • June 8

    Ardent Titan graphics supercomputer

    An Ardent Titan graphics supercomputer is installed in the LPI Computer Center. The supercomputer will greatly expand the Institute’s capabilities for image processing, scientific visualization, and numerically intensive computing.

  • July 22

    LPI holds an open house in conjunction with Space Week and the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. More than 1800 people visit the Institute and participate in scientific and image processing demonstrations.

  • August 27

    LPI, JSC, and the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) co-sponsor “The Neptune Encounter,” the first in a series of public lectures held at UHCL. The lecture features the stunning photographs of Neptune and its moons recently returned by Voyager II.

  • October 10-11

    The LAPST-initiated workshop on Lunar Volcanic Glasses: Scientific and Resource Potential is held at LPI. The workshop is convened by John Delano and Grant Heiken.

  • October 18

    Galileo launches onboard the space shuttle Atlantis. Twelve years in the development and planning stages, the goal of the mission, originally called the Jupiter Orbiter Probe, is a two-year study of the jovian system.


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