Science at LPI
The Lunar and Planetary Science Institute’s mission is to advance understanding of the solar system by providing exceptional science, service, and inspiration to the world.
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.
Dr. Julie Stopar studies the places where water-ice could melt and interact with rocks and soil.
Dr. Justin Filiberto focuses on planetary petrology — the origin and evolution of rocks.
Dr. Edgard G. Rivera-Valentin investigates surface processes on solar system bodies.
The LPI Education and Public Engagement team brings the excitement of Earth and planetary science and exploration to diverse audiences.
New Discoveries with Old Moon Rocks - Katharine Robinson
Dr. Katharine Robinson's research involves the study of volatiles in silicic lunar rocks. She is particularly interested in hydrogen isotopes in lunar apatite, as they can preserve information about the source(s) of water to the Earth-Moon system.
LRO Explores the Moon - Julie Stopar
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.
GRAIL Explores the Moon - Walter Kiefer
Dr. Walter Kiefer uses computer models to study the internal structure and thermal evolution of the Moon.
Xenoliths in Meteorites - Dr. Cyrena Goodrich
Dr. Cyrena Goodrich studies xenoliths in meteoritic breccias working with Dr. Allan Treiman and Dr. David Kring.
Water in the Moon - Dr. Jessica Barnes
Dr. Jessica Barnes is the lead author of a study that tracked down the source of the water in the Moon's interior.
Anatomy of a Lunar Meteorite - Dr. Allan Treiman
Dr. Allan Treiman studies planetary materials, particularly Moon rocks and martian meteorites.
Schrödinger Basin is a very attractive landing site for future missions, because the age of its melt samples will help define the end of the lunar impact cataclysm.
Terrestrial Planets: The Cratering Process - Dr. Buck Sharpton
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
Dr. Patrick McGovern shares his research on the structure and evolution of large volcanic edifices and provinces on the terrestrial planets.
Dawn at Vesta - Dr. Paul Schenk
Dr. Paul Schenk, Participating Scientist on the Dawn (at Vesta) and Cassini missions features images from the missions.
The Poles of the Moon - Dr. Paul Spudis
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. David Kring is the Principal Investigator for the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration , a member of the NASA Lunar Science Institute.
Dr. Paul Schenk’s research efforts focus on the geology and topography of the icy satellites of the outer planets and occasionally Mars.