From left to right: Greg Schmidt, SSERVI Deputy Director; Jacob Bleacher, Susan Mahan Neibur Early Career Award Winner; Carle M. Pieters, Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal Recipient; Yvonne Pendleton, SSERVI Director; Clive R. Neal, Michael J. Wargo Award Winner.

Recognizing that science and exploration go hand in hand, NASA created SSERVI in 2013, expanding the scope of the former NASA Lunar Science Institute to include basic and applied scientific research on the Moon, near Earth asteroids, and the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos. The Michael J. Wargo Award, Susan Mahan Niebur award, and Eugene Shoemaker medal were created to recognize outstanding achievement in exploration science. The winners were nominated by their academic peers, and were selected by SSERVI Director Yvonne Pendleton. The awards will be formally presented along with invited lectures from the recipients at the 2015 Exploration Science Forum (ESF) taking place July 21-23rd at the NASA Research Park at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

The 2015 Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal, named after American geologist and one of the founders of planetary science, Eugene Shoemaker, will be awarded to Carle M. Pieters, Principal Investigator of SSERVI’s SEEED team at Brown University, for her significant scientific contributions to the field of lunar science throughout the course of her scientific career. The award includes a certificate and medal with the Shakespearian quote “And he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night.”

Professor Pieters has been a faculty member at Brown University since 1980, after having worked several years at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sarawak. Her general research efforts include planetary exploration and evolution of planetary surfaces with an emphasis on remote compositional analyses.

Dr. Pieters was the founder and initial Science Manager of the NASA Reflectance Experiment Laboratory (RELAB), a NASA-supported multi-user spectroscopy facility at Brown that operates from 0.3 to 25 µm. She has been Principal Investigator for NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) experiment that was launched to the Moon in 2008 on India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, and she is currently Co-Investigator on the Dawn mission to explore the large asteroids Vesta and Ceres. Read Carle Pieters’ full profile.

The Michael J. Wargo Award is an annual award given to a scientist or engineer who has significantly contributed to the integration of exploration and planetary science throughout their career. The 2015 Michael J. Wargo Award will be awarded to Clive R. Neal.

Dr. Neal is a professor at the University of Notre Dame, who has published numerous peer reviewed publications and significant reports regarding his lunar research. He was also involved in publishing the 2006 New Views of the Moon book that was published by the Mineralogical Society of America as part of their Reviews in Mineralogy & Geochemistry series. He grew up and was educated in the United Kingdom, receiving his B.S. in Geology from the University of Leicester in the UK, and his Ph.D from the University of Leeds, also in the UK. He moved to the United States in 1986 where he spent 4 years as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. While there, he studied mantle petrology and was introduced to the study of Apollo Moon rocks. He was hired at the University of Notre Dame in 1990 and has been there ever since. Neal has been involved in the study of the Moon since 1986. His research into the origin and evolution of the Moon focuses on the petrology and geochemistry of returned samples coupled with geophysics and other remotely sensed datasets. He has also served on mission and research review panels, including being the Chair of the Lunar Sample Allocation subcommittee for CAPTEM 2005-2009 and is the current chair of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, a group that he chaired from 2006-2010. He is passionate about NASA and in returning humans to the Moon and beyond. Current research areas include the Origin and Evolution of the Moon, Geophysical Instrumentation and Investigations of the Moon, Formation of Impact Melts, and Mare Basalt Petrogenesis. Read Clive Neal’s full profile.

The Susan Mahan Niebur Early Career Award is an annual award given to an early career scientist who has made significant contributions to the science or exploration communities. Recipients of the Susan M. Niebur Early Career Award are researchers who are ten years out or less from their PhD, who have shown excellence in their field and demonstrated meaningful contributions to the science or exploration communities. This year the prize will be presented to Jacob E. Bleacher of SSERVI’s RIS4E and DREAM2 teams at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

Dr. Bleacher’s current research combines field work, geomorphology, physical volcanology, planetary geology, and remote sensing. He served as a geologist crew member on NASA’s Desert Research And Technology Studies (Desert RATS) team and edited a special issue of Acta Astronautica dedicated the 2010 Desert RATS field campaign. In addition, he co-proposed GSA Special Paper 483, Analogs for Planetary Exploration, a 33 chapter compilation of historical accounts of astronaut geology training, overviews of planetary geology research on Mars, educational field trips to analog sites, plus concepts for future human missions to the Moon. Jake served as the Lead Volcanology Instructor for the 2013 Astronaut Class, and has taken part in numerous Astronaut and Engineer geology training events. He will be leading the SSERVI CLSE team’s field training excursion this fall to the Zuni-Bandera Volcanic Field to help expose planetary science students to field geology. Read Jacob Bleacher’s full profile.

“We look forward to future scientific discoveries from these individuals,” said Yvonne Pendleton, Director of SSERVI. “Their outstanding research efforts are vital to the ambitious activities of exploring the solar system with robots and humans. Congratulations to Carle Pieters, Clive Neal and Jacob Bleacher for their achievements and contributions.”

The SSERVI awards are open to the entire research community, including team members and Principal Investigators; recipients need not reside in the U.S. nor be a U.S. citizen. Nominations are welcome at any time at:, but must be submitted by March 15 for consideration in that calendar year. Winners are announced at the annual Exploration Science Forum each summer.

More information on these awards and past recipients can be found at:

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: SSERVI

Tagged with:  
Share →

ELS 2023

NESF 2022


NESF ELS Graphic

NESF 2023

LunGradCon 2022

LunGradCon Graphic

LSSW – Virtual

Upcoming Events

Check back soon!

SSERVI Team Science

Did you know?

The last human visitor left the Moon in December 1972.

Read More