Saturday, January 10, 2009

NLSI picks first seven member teams

NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) has picked seven initial research teams. Each will specialize in overlaping areas of important areas of reseach and will act as nodes for the virtual institute, headquartered modestly at NASA Ames at Moffett Field, California.

The first member teams are:

- The Moon as Cornerstone to the Terrestrial Planets: The Formative Years; principal investigator Carle Pieters, Planetary Geosciences Group, Brown University in Providence.

- Scientific and Exploration Potential of the Lunar Poles; principal investigator Ben Bussey, senior staff scientist and noted expert at lunar polar illumination at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Laurel, Maryland.

- Impact Processes in the Origin and Evolution of the Moon: New Sample-driven Perspectives; principal investigator David Kring, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona and LPSI in Houston.

- Dynamic Response of the Environment at the Moon; principal investigator William Farrell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.

- Understanding the Formation and Bombardment History of the Moon; principal investigator William Bottke, Space Science and Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO.

- Lunar University Node for Astrophysics Research: Exploring the Cosmos from the Moon; principal investigator Jack Burns, Professor and Vice President Emeritus for Academic Affairs and Research, Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, University of Colorado at Boulder.

- NASA Lunar Science Institute: Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies; principal investigator Mihaly Horanyi, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder
“We look forward to solid contributions from these teams,” said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Division at NASA HQ. “These are some of the key individuals who will be vital to NASA successfully conducting the ambitious activities of returning to the moon with robots and humans.”

Teams were selected from 33 proposals.

Based and managed at NASA Ames, NLSI is designed to be a virtual institute, "enabling the newly selected members to remain at their home institutions. Partnerships and collaborations among members are highly encouraged and facilitated through a variety of proven networking tools, such as frequent videoconferences," according to the NLSI announcement.

Opened in April 2008, the facility is modeled after the NASA Astrobiology Institute, also based at Ames. That institute is also a "virtual facility" successfully sustaining a productive research program for more than a decade.

For further information on the institute and lunar science visit NSLI.