Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lunar Science Institute Opens at Ames

MOFFETT FIELD -- Thirty-eight years ago, NASA launched the Apollo 13 mission to the moon. On Friday, NASA launched the new Lunar Science Institute to lead the agency's research activities for future missions to the moon related to NASA's exploration goals.

Managed by NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, the NASA Lunar Science Institute is modeled after the successful NASA Astrobiology Institute, also managed by Ames, and features teams of scientists across the country collaborating in lunar science and future lunar exploration.

"This is an exciting day for NASA as we unveil our new Lunar Science Institute," said Ames Research Center Director General S. Pete Worden (USAF, Ret.). "This dynamic virtual institute is now the center for lunar science, not only for the United States, but also for the world and will bring together some of the best and brightest scientists to help lead NASA's future missions to the moon."

The new institute is supported by the NASA Science Mission Directorate and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters and will be funded by the Lunar Science Project. Initially, NASA will select four or five research teams for grants of $1 million to $2 million each for four year terms. By the end of this year, NASA officials say as many as 50 scientists could be working in collaboration with the new institute.