Dr. Julie D. Stopar
Senior Staff ScientistDr. Stopar's Research Profile
Dr. Julie Stopar is a staff scientist at the LPI where she leads research on lunar geology and surface evolution. She is also the science lead for the LPI's Regional Planetary Image Facility, which shares our unique planetary science documents and images. Dr. Stopar is part of the coordination team for the LPI Summer Intern Program in Planetary Science, which hosts at least 10 undergraduate students each summer. She has also supervised postdoctoral and multiple undergraduate intern research projects. Dr. Stopar has been part of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team since 2007, before launch. She is a Co-Investigator for the LRO Camera team and a Mini-RF team member.
Dr. Stopar's current research focuses on answering key lunar science questions relating to the geology and evolution of the surface, beginning with interpretations of the unprecedented LROC data set. Meter-scale morphologic information provided by LROC observations forms a basis for interpreting the geology of many landforms on the lunar surface, especially when combined with compositional information. The same observations are also key to mission planning and used to constrain hardware capabilities and navigation requirements. Dr. Stopar is active in several mission concepts for lunar exploration having contributed to designs for a long-range rover, a robotic sample return, and a SmallSat lander.
Dr. Stopar also provides service to the science community as Vice-Chair of the Mapping and Planetary Spatial Infrastructure Team (MAPSIT) steering committee, which developed a framework for making planetary data more useful and accessible, and through several Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) specific action teams that provide a roadmap for science-driven exploration of the Moon.
Dr. Stopar researches lunar volcanic deposits (including the formation mechanisms of small vents and localized pyroclastics and lava flows), impact melt deposits (including how and when they form during the cratering processes), impact craters (how their shapes, including those of secondary impacts, are affected by differing target properties), and regolith (specifically what the uppermost, fragmental surface implies about the geologic history of a region or landform).