The Lunar and Planetary Institute is a research institute that provides support services to NASA and the planetary science community, and conducts planetary science research.
The Lunar and Planetary Institute was first described by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as “a center of research where scientists working in the sciences of space cooperate to profoundly affect the community’s knowledge of the universe.” The Institute serves in three main capacities:
Research Science: The Institute is a center for lunar and planetary science, conducting research studies on the formation, evolution, and current state of the Moon, planets, comets, asteroids, planetary satellites, cosmic dust, and our solar system as a whole through analysis of data and samples obtained through NASA’s long history of missions and exploration. Service to NASA and the Planetary Science Community: The Institute coordinates scientific meetings on lunar and planetary topics, and disseminates scientific information through technical journals and conferences, including an abstract database of more than 25,000 presentations made by scientists at LPI-sponsored meetings. The Institute also curates an extensive collection of lunar and planetary data that is accessible online. Education and Public Outreach: The Institute develops education and public outreach programs that engage families, educators and students in space science and enhance the public appreciation of lunar and planetary science.
Mission: The Lunar and Planetary Institute is a research institute that provides support services to NASA and the planetary science community, and conducts planetary science research under the leadership of staff scientists, visiting researchers, and postdoctoral fellows.
Operating as usual
Episode 177 of Houston We Have a Podcast features planetary geologist and analytical geochemist Paul Niles discussing the Mars environment, terrain, weather, atmosphere, and more that humans will face while living on the Red Planet. http://ow.ly/XzTz50D3LaV
Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojan asteroids, leftover building blocks of the solar system’s outer planets orbiting the Sun at the distance of Jupiter. Recently the Lucy Thermal Emission Spectrometer (L'TES) was successfully integrated on to the spacecraft. L'TES will allow the mission team to infer whether surface material is loose, like sand, or consolidated, like rocks, and will collect spectral information using thermal infrared observations. http://ow.ly/twNq50D1mIY
HiRISE: Did you know that you can help HiRISE decide what places on Mars to photograph next? You can! Just create an account on the HiWish public suggestion page, then login and submit your suggestions. You can also browse the targets that are already in the image database. http://ow.ly/eUfm50CXM5T
The Martian Geological Enigmas: From the Late Noachian Epoch to the Present Day workshop is scheduled to take place October 4–6, 2021. Puzzling pits, mysterious mountains, and baffling bends are all welcome at the workshop, where we aim to highlight the enigmatic and most debated aspects of Mars science since orbital observations began. Check the workshop website for updated information. #marsenigmas2021 http://ow.ly/r5pJ50CXMgb
Ask an Astrobiologist is a monthly show that invites the public to interact with a high-profile astrobiologist who replies to questions on video. Each online session lasts about an hour. Past episodes have been recorded and are available to watch on the Ask an Astrobiologist website. http://ow.ly/Usns50CVodU
LPSC: The application deadline for the LPI Career Development Registration Award and the Stephen E. Dwornik Student Awards is January 13. Requirements and instructions to apply for these awards can be found on the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference website. #LPSC2021 http://ow.ly/pxYq50D2FRq
Check out the Planetary Geomorphology Image of the Month for January featuring "The Mysterious Morphology of Hekla Cavus, Pluto." http://ow.ly/sWQP50D1NmO
@PlanetGeomorpho, Dr. Frances E. G. Butcher and Dr. Susan J. Conway
The 2020 Moon to Mars eXploration Systems and Habitation (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge supports NASA’s efforts to develop technologies and capabilities that will enable future human missions to the Moon, Mars, and other solar system destinations. Eleven university teams have received awards for their projects in a number of categories including habitation, life support, and in-space manufacturing. http://ow.ly/v1U650CZiwO
Alien Worlds is a new Nexflix original series that imagines alien life on other planets by applying the laws of life on Earth to the rest of the galaxy. LPI Staff Scientist and astrobiologist Dr. Kennda Lynch is featured in episode 2, Janus, sharing her expertise in studying life in extreme environments on Earth and searching for biosignatures on other planetary bodies. The four-episode series is currently streaming on Netflix. http://ow.ly/dGTt50D1KSU
Applying the laws of life on Earth to the rest of the galaxy, this series blends science fact and fiction to imagine alien life on other planets. Watch Alien...
The James Webb Space Telescope advanced through a number of engineering milestones last year. Take a look back on Webb’s top 10 moments in 2020. The world’s largest and most powerful space observatory is scheduled to launch in 2021. http://ow.ly/zI6x50CZwMS
The combined 5th Planetary Data Workshop (PDW5) and Planetary Science Informatics & Data Analytics (PSIDA) virtual meeting is scheduled for June 28 – July 2. To be added to the mailing list to receive pertinent information about this meeting and to indicate your interest in participating, please submit an Indication of Interest.#PlanetData2021 http://ow.ly/R9dY50CVtjy
The program for the virtual session of the Lunar Surface Science Workshop on Space Biology that will be held on January 20 - 21 is now available on the workshop website. The registration deadline for this session is January 18. #lunarsurface http://ow.ly/6AVE50CZPsA
Please join us on Thursday, January 7, at 3:30 p.m. CST for the next virtual seminar in the LPI Seminar Series. Craig Hardgrove of Arizona State University will present "Searching for Lunar Water with LunaH-Map: Tiny Interplanetary Spacecraft With Big Science and Exploration Goals." Registration is required. http://ow.ly/pp7W50CZGQq
Applications are being accepted for the Exploration Science Summer Intern Program. This special program hosted by the Lunar and Planetary Institute is designed to involve students in activities that support missions to the Moon that utilize the Orion crew vehicle, the Deep Space Gateway, and robotic assets on the lunar surface. The program is open to graduate students in geology, planetary science, planetary astronomy, and related topics. Apply soon — the deadline is January 15. http://ow.ly/ELlk50CZigL
What's up for January? Earth's closest approach to the Sun for the year, called perihelion, at the start of the month, then spot a couple of elusive planets: Uranus on January 20 and Mercury throughout the second half of the month. http://ow.ly/4V2G50CZsau
The JPL Planetary Photojournal is your interface to the Planetary Image Archive contained within the Planetary Data System Imaging Node. It's an access point to thousands of high-resolution images and their accompanying products which have been made available to the public from data returned by various JPL missions over the course of many years. http://ow.ly/Tqx450CVstV
The 100 best images from 2020 as captured and selected by the NASA Headquarters Photo Team can be viewed online. They include images of astronauts, launches, NASA facilities, and more. http://ow.ly/vOzA50CXNox
LPSC: The Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) abstract deadline is January 12. Abstract submission policies and topics available for this year can be found on the LPSC website. #LPSC2021 http://ow.ly/EUT450CVnnb
Analog missions are field tests in locations that have physical similarities to the extreme space environments that allow engineers and scientists to gather requirements for testing in harsh environments before they are used in space. These missions also look for possible safeguards to the hazards of living in space. Test locations include the Antarctic, oceans, deserts, arctic, and volcanic environments. Find out more online. http://ow.ly/2BUu50CVn68
The American Geophysical Union webinar "Science Communication in a Virtual World" presents critical skills for being able to share your science and connect with others in a digital world. http://ow.ly/JEaQ50CVq3K
Happy New Year! Here's a downloadable 2021 calendar highlighting some of the people and missions of NASA. http://ow.ly/OAeO50CVych
Another virtual session of the Lunar Surface Science Workshop will be held on January 20 - 21 and will focus on Space Biology. This virtual session will inform the community about lunar surface science programmatic activities at NASA and solicit input from the community on the potential for new scientific research that could be enabled by Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) and human exploration on the Moon and the technologies needed to conduct the research investigations. The registration deadline for this session is January 18. #lunarsurface http://ow.ly/Gnya50CVuC4
In an effort to expand interest in Mars and share HiRISE images with a worldwide audience, volunteers who are fluent or semi-fluent in languages other than English are invited to join the BeautifulMars Project by translating HiRISE image titles. Thanks to volunteers, HiRISE resources are offered in 28 languages. Find out about project guidelines online and about how you can help. http://ow.ly/EtCq50CVmd3
The preliminary agenda is now available for the 24th meeting of the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) that will be held virtually on January 26 and 27. http://ow.ly/LoBV50CWQ42
LROC: This LROC image shows the Jupiter–Saturn conjunction. The LROC Narrow Angle Camera captured this view just a few hours after the point of closest separation (0.1°) between the two giant planets. Saturn's brightness has been increased 4 times to match Jupiter. http://ow.ly/mSH250CVMWp
A recent episode of Gravity Assist features astrobiologist Lindsay Hays. She answers audience questions about life in the universe. Why don’t we go live on Saturn’s moon Titan? What would it mean if we found life elsewhere? How did life get its start on Earth? Find out what she has to say. http://ow.ly/fuNz50CU89g
The sample tubes carried in the belly of NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover are destined to carry the first samples in history from another planet back to Earth. Future scientists will use the collected martian rock and regolith to look for evidence of potential microbial life present in Mars' ancient past and to answer other key questions about Mars and its history. Perseverance is scheduled to land on Mars at Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021. http://ow.ly/yEhk50CT83j
The 24th meeting of the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) will be held virtually January 26–27, 2021. This meeting is the first of SBAG’s two annual meetings. Registration will close when the maximum is reached or on January 21, 2021, whichever occurs first. http://ow.ly/S6Ir50CR4xT
Stephen E. Dwornik student awards consist of a plaque and a monetary award given for outstanding student presentations (in both poster and oral categories) or a plaque for honorable mentions (poster and oral) at the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC). The awards are managed and judged by the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America. Find out about eligibility and how to apply online. For LPSC 2021, the Dwornik application form is due on January 13, 2021. http://ow.ly/zAUR50CR5T6
The Lunar and Planetary Institute presents its new initiative, a three-part conference series called Brines Across the Solar System (BAS). This series dives into brines as a planetary process, from modern to ancient brines and the technologies needed to explore them. Conferences will take place in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Check the BAS website for more information. #BrinesCon http://ow.ly/Si6B50CR37Q
Miss one of the Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series lectures? Recordings of past presentations can be viewed on the LPI YouTube channel and in the Cosmic Exploration Speaker Series archive. http://ow.ly/dDZv50CR2VJ
The Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) features a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe each day. Each image has a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Check out the image archives that go back to 1995. http://ow.ly/kESD50CR20P
3600 Bay Area Blvd Houston, TX 77058
The Lunar and Planetary Institute is operated by the Universities Space Research Association under a NASA Cooperative Agreement.
Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Lunar and Planetary Institute posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Contact The Business
Send a message to Lunar and Planetary Institute:
OSIRIS-REx: After touching down on asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission team received images last Thursday that confirm the spacecraft has collected more than enough material to meet one of its main mission requirements — acquiring at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of the asteroid’s surface material. http://ow.ly/rrNY50C2zWD
Join the Planet Patrol citizen science project and help find out which planet candidates from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission are real. http://ow.ly/UXa650BEoLi
TONIGHT: This evening join Lunar and Planetary Institute astrobiologist and geomicrobiologist Kennda Lynch, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine microbiologist Julie Huber, WHOI marine geoscientist Chris German, and special guest, comedian Eugene Mirman as they present "Oceans Beyond Earth: From Earth's Deep Ocean to the Search for Extraterrestrial Life." This event, part of the WHOI Ocean Encounters Virtual Series, will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. EDT. This event will also be broadcast live on WHOI’s YouTube Channel. http://ow.ly/PZBp50Bq4Fy
Massive gas giants called "hot Jupiters" — planets that orbit too close to their stars to sustain life — are some of the strangest worlds found beyond our solar system. New observations show that the hottest of them all, an ultra-hot Jupiter called KELT-9b, is stranger still, prone to planet-wide meltdowns so severe they tear apart the molecules that make up its atmosphere. http://ow.ly/wlXD50y5K4l
MAVEN: A type of Martian aurora first identified by the MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on Mars, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere. http://ow.ly/AW2x50xyvWo
TESS: Using data from TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), astronomers at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, have captured a clear start-to-finish image sequence of an explosive emission of dust, ice, and gases during the close approach of comet 46P/Wirtanen in late 2018. This is the most complete and detailed observation to date of the formation and dissipation of a naturally-occurring comet outburst. http://ow.ly/72r650xt1gB
For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists have measured the seasonal changes in the gases that fill the air directly above the surface of Gale Crater on Mars. As a result, they noticed something baffling: oxygen, the gas many Earth creatures use to breathe, behaves in a way that so far scientists cannot explain through any known chemical processes. http://ow.ly/63RT50x9Mnp
What does a marsquake look like? This artist's concept is a simulation of what seismic waves from a marsquake might look like as they move through different layers of the Martian interior.
JUNO: Earlier this week the Juno mission to Jupiter successfully executed a 10.5-hour propulsive maneuver. This maneuver was designed to keep the solar-powered spacecraft out of what would have been a mission-ending shadow cast by Jupiter on the spacecraft during its next close flyby of the planet on November 3. http://ow.ly/qw7g50wzOhE
INSIGHT: The InSight lander's sensitive seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), can pick up vibrations as subtle as a breeze. SEIS was designed to listen for marsquakes. Scientists want to study how the seismic waves of these quakes move through the planet's interior, revealing the deep inner structure of Mars. Out of more than 100 seismic events detected to date, about 21 are strongly considered to be quakes. The remainder could be quakes as well, but the science team hasn't ruled out other causes. http://ow.ly/Wk0U50wyyxP
Scientists are planning now for the flyby of near-Earth asteroid 99942 Apophis that will occur in 2029. The asteroid will cruise harmlessly by Earth, about 19,000 miles (31,000 kilometers) above the surface. It's rare for an asteroid of this size to pass by Earth so close. Marina Brozović, a radar scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: "The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science. We'll observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we might be able to see surface details that are only a few meters in size." http://ow.ly/DidW50togPj
CURIOSITY: Over the past few weeks, the Curiosity Mars rover has been sending back some spectacular imagery of solar eclipses caused by Phobos and Deimos, Mars' two moons. http://ow.ly/iv6R50p6Z5s
Here's a short virtual tour of the library at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. If you are in our area, stop by and have a look around!
Did you know that the LPI library has a collection of planetary globes, terrain models, and asteroid models? The collection includes both commercially manufactured and handcrafted objects.