Science at LPI
High-quality scientific research is at the heart of our mission. Our researchers investigate processes and bodies across the solar system and participate in fundamental discoveries that move planetary science forward.
Our scientific staff is devoted to the study of the formation of the solar system, its evolution into the dynamic planetary system we have today, and the potential for life elsewhere.
Our current major research topics include the origin and evolution of the early solar system; petrology and geochemistry of planetary materials and volatiles; planetary interiors, volcanism, and tectonism; and impact cratering.
The Center for Lunar Science and Exploration, part of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, is led by LPI and supports our nation’s lunar and near-Earth asteroid science and exploration activities.
Center for Lunar Science and Exploration: Virtually Impacting the Future
Dr. David Kring is the Principal Investigator for the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration, a member of the NASA Lunar Science Institute.
Exploring the Weather and Climate on Mars
Dr. Germán Martínez’s research focuses on the solar UV and atmospheric longwave radiative environment on Mars.
Using Topography to Investigate Icy Ocean Worlds
Dr. Paul Schenk uses stereo images returned from spacecraft, the best tool for mapping the topography of icy moons and planets, to derive measurements of surface elevations.
Exploring the Moon's South Pole
Dr. Julie Stopar studies the places where water-ice could melt and interact with rocks and soil.
Dr. Julie Stopar researches lunar impact craters and volcanoes and has been active in the science and operations of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera since before the spacecraft lauched in 2009.
Dr. Walter Kiefer uses computer models to study the internal structure and thermal evolution of the Moon.
Dr. Cyrena Goodrich studies xenoliths in meteoritic breccias working with Dr. Allan Treiman and Dr. David Kring.
Dr. Jessica Barnes is the lead author of a study that tracked down the source of the water in the Moon's interior.
Dr. Allan Treiman studies planetary materials, particularly Moon rocks and martian meteorites.
Schrodinger Basin: Mission Concepts
Dr. David Kring and his team have identified high-priority science and exploration sites on the Moon. Schrödinger Basin is a very attractive landing site for future missions.
Terrestrial Planets: The Cratering Process
Dr. Virgil Sharpton shares new insights from high-resolution data gathered from recent lunar orbital missions.
Structure and Evolution of Planetary Volcanoes
Dr. Patrick McGovern shares his research on the structure and evolution of large volcanic edifices and provinces on the terrestrial planets.
Dr. Paul Schenk, Participating Scientist on the Dawn (at Vesta) and Cassini missions features images from the missions.
Dr. Paul Spudis’ research focuses on the geological history and evolution of the Moon and processes of impact and volcanism that have shaped its surface.
Dr. Paul Schenk’s research efforts focus on the geology and topography of the icy satellites of the outer planets and occasionally Mars.