The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and the Johnson Space Center (JSC) have a long and successful history of collaborative research and exploration activities that began with the Apollo program. The LPI and JSC have harnessed that heritage to build the new Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE) to better support our nation’s lunar science and exploration activities.
The Center is designed to (1) develop a core, multi-institutional lunar science program that addresses the highest science priorities identified by the National Research Council (NRC) for NASA; (2) provide scientific and technical expertise to NASA that will infuse its lunar research programs, including developing investigations that influence current and future space missions; (3) support the development of a lunar science community that both captures the surviving Apollo experience and trains the next generation of lunar science researchers; and (4) use that core lunar science to develop education and public outreach programs that will energize and capture the imagination of K-14 audiences and the general public.
The CLSE team includes faculty, students, and analytical facilities at Rice University, the University of Arizona, University of Houston, University of Maryland, and University of Notre Dame. The Center has also established international partnerships with faculty, students, and analytical facilities in Australia, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom. This collaborative program is built around the Apollo sample collection, which provides the highest-fidelity view of the lunar surface for a new generation of lunar scientists.
The team’s science theme is driven by the highest-priority science concept (the bombardment history of the inner solar system is uniquely revealed on the Moon) and highest-priority goal (to test the lunar cataclysm hypothesis) that were identified by the National Research Council (2007) for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD). This investigative theme will traverse from the earliest moments of the Moon’s origin through the immensely important basin-forming epoch to new analyses of impact contributions to the lunar regolith.
CLSE’s exploration related activities are integrated with the Constellation Systems Program, particularly the Office of Lunar and Planetary Exploration. The team’s experience with lunar surface samples, impact cratered terrains, and volcanic terrains are helping to integrate science and exploration activities and develop operational procedures for future lunar surface activities.
The CLSE team has published more than 30 peer-reviewed research papers, 164 extended conference abstracts, 74 conference abstracts, 2 policy white papers, 6 decadal survey papers, and 2 magazine articles.
Read the CLSE summary report for years 1-3
The LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration has developed a new South Pole-Aitken Basin Landing Site Database. The database website provides a web-based ArcGIS tool for evaluating landing sites within the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin. The new database is a valuable resource and a wonderful tool for SPA Basin landing sites analyses.