Lunar and Planetary Institute

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.

LPI Research

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.

Recent Publications

Research Gallery

Malapert Mountain

Exploring the Moon's South Pole

Dr. Julie Stopar studies the places where water-ice could melt and interact with rocks and soil.

Planetary Petrology

Planetary Petrology

Dr. Justin Filiberto focuses on planetary petrology — the origin and evolution of rocks.

Saturn's moon Dione

Surface Processes: From Accretion Through Habitability

Dr. Edgard G. Rivera-Valentin investigates surface processes on solar system bodies.

Members of Education staff

LPI Education and Public Engagement

The LPI Education and Public Engagement team brings the excitement of Earth and planetary science and exploration to diverse audiences.

Searching for meteorites in Antarctica

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.

Marius Hills, Moon

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

GRAIL Explores the Moon - Walter Kiefer

Dr. Walter Kiefer uses computer models to study the internal structure and thermal evolution of the Moon.

Water on 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 on the Moon

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.

Lunar Meteorite

Anatomy of a Lunar Meteorite - Dr. Allan Treiman

Dr. Allan Treiman studies planetary materials, particularly Moon rocks and martian meteorites.

Explore the crater
Schrodinger Basin: Mission Concepts - Dr. David Kring

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.

Haughton Impact Structure, Vanada: A Peak-Ring Crater

Terrestrial Planets: The Cratering Process - Dr. Buck Sharpton

Dr. Virgil Sharpton shares new insights from high-resolution data gathered from recent lunar orbital missions.

View of Venus Faulted Volcano

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.

Cornelia Crater

Dawn at Vesta - Dr. Paul Schenk

Dr. Paul Schenk, Participating Scientist on the Dawn (at Vesta) and Cassini missions features images from the missions.

Composite image of the Chandrayaan-1 Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) spectral data for the lunar near side

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.

Earth and Moon

Center for Lunar Science and Exploration: Virtually Impacting the Future — Today
Dr. David Kring

Dr. David Kring is the Principal Investigator for the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration , a member of the NASA Lunar Science Institute.


Discovery: Icy Satellites

Dr. Paul Schenk’s research efforts focus on the geology and topography of the icy satellites of the outer planets and occasionally Mars.

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