Today, we lost a giant of our field, Dr. Paul Spudis (1952-2018).

Dr. Paul D. Spudis, a Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, was a strong collaborator across multiple SSERVI teams as a Co-Investigator with the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE) team (PI David Kring) at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas, and with the Volatiles, Regolith and Thermal Investigations Consortium for Exploration and Science (VORTICES) team (PI Andy Rivkin) at Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD. Spudis’ research focused on the processes of impact and volcanism on the planets and studies of the requirements for a sustainable human presence on the Moon.

Dr. Spudis received the most prestigious SSERVI award, the 2014 Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal, for his significant contributions to the field of lunar science throughout his career. The prize was presented and an invited lecture was given at the NASA Exploration Science Forum (ref: 01_Spudis [0:19:35]).

Dr. Spudis was Deputy Leader of the Science Team for the Department of Defense Clementine mission to the Moon in 1994, the Principal Investigator of the Mini-SAR imaging radar experiment on India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission (2008-2009), and a team member of the Mini-RF imaging radar on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission (2009-2018). He is the author or co-author of over 115 scientific papers and 7 books, including The Once and Future Moon, a book for the general public in the Smithsonian Library of the Solar System series, The Clementine Atlas of the Moon, by Cambridge University Press, and The Value of the Moon: How to Explore, Live and Prosper in Space Using the Moon’s Resources, by Smithsonian Books.

Among many other notable awards and achievements, he was presented with the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2004, the 2006 Von Karman Lectureship in Astronautics, awarded by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, the 2011 Space Pioneer Award from the National Space Society, and he was the recipient of the 2016 Columbia Medal for his contributions in advancing aerospace engineering.

He will be remembered for his outstanding service as a geologist specializing in the terrestrial planets, with extensive background in geology and planetary science, including interpretation of remote-sensing and image data and integrated studies with information from planetary samples. “Paul was a leader and champion for lunar exploration and settlement, and he will continue to inspire us as we return to the Moon,” said SSERVI Deputy Director Greg Schmidt.

Dr. Samuel Lawrence, Chair of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group writes:

“Few individuals have been as articulate, passionate, or resolute in their advocacy of lunar exploration and human spaceflight as Paul Spudis. Paul articulated a clear, attainable vision regarding the immense value of going to the Moon, establishing a permanent human presence on the surface, and using the resources now known to be abundant on the surface to provide the capabilities required to let us go anywhere, and do anything, we want to do in the Solar System. For four generations, Paul was a truly fearless leader, unafraid to speak truth to power, vigorously pointing out the immense value of a strong presence on the Moon’s surface for any future United States efforts beyond low earth orbit. When the history of the 21st century is written, it is likely that those who ultimately succeed in moving humanity beyond low earth orbit will have done so by following the clear path he laid out. We have lost an accomplished scientist, a visionary leader, and a friend. While many tributes are being planned, I think that everyone would agree that the best possible tribute to his memory will be a continuing, vibrant United States presence on the lunar surface. It is now, sadly, up to the rest of us to finish the job he started.”

For more information about Paul Spudis’ research, visit:

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: SSERVI/Lunar-L

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