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Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute

  (Redirected from Lunar Science Institute)

The Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), originally the NASA Lunar Science Institute, is an organization, established by NASA in 2008, that supplemented and extended existing NASA lunar science programs. Supported by the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), SSERVI is a NASA program office located at the NASA Ames Research Center and was modeled on the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) with dispersed teams across the nation working together to help lead the agency's research activities related to NASA's human exploration goals. Competitively selected team investigations focused on one or more aspects of lunar science investigations of the Moon (including lunar samples), from the Moon, and on the Moon.

In 2013 the NLSI became the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute and expanded its scope to include Near-Earth asteroids and Phobos and Deimos.[1][2]


The Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) is composed of thirteen U.S. teams, and ten international partners. The teams are listed below:



  • Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets (ISET); principal investigator William Bottke, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder CO.

Focus: Formation of terrestrial planets and asteroid belt, modeling of the Moon's origin and Phobos/Deimos, history of NEAs and lunar bombardment, NEA origins, identification and characterization

  • Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (CLASS); principal investigator Daniel Britt, University of Central Florida in Orlando FL.

Focus: Studies of physical properties of regoliths: geotechnical properties, microgravity effects, impact ejecta, dynamics, hydration and weathering of NEAs, charging and mobilization of dust

  • Volatiles, Regolith and Thermal Investigations Consortium for Exploration and Science (VORTICES); principal investigator Andy Rivkin, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel MD.

Focus: Volatiles sources/sinks/processes and interaction with regoliths, evolution of regoliths on all target bodies, identification and exploitation of resources

  • Dynamic Response of Environments at Asteroids, the Moon, and moons of Mars (DREAM2); principal investigator William Farrell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD. Focus: Plasma interactions, exospheres, Radiation of exposed materials, space weathering, solar storms/solar wind

  • Remote, In Situ and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration (RIS4E); principal investigator Timothy Glotch, Stony Brook University, NY.

Focus: Remote sensing of airless bodies, field operations and metrics for human exploration, reactivity and toxicity of regoliths, synchrotron analyses of samples, volcanics and impact crater analog research

  • Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE); principal investigator Jennifer Heldmann, NASA Ames Research Center, CA. Focus: Field operations and metrics for human exploration and analog research.

  • Institute for Modeling Plasma, Atmospheres and Cosmic Dust (IMPACT); principal investigator Mihaly Horanyi, University of Colorado in Boulder CO.

Focus: Small scale impact studies/regolith gardening, plasma charging and mobilization of dust, near surface plasma environments, new advancements on dust accelerator facility

  • Inner Solar System Impact Processes; principal investigator David Kring, Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston TX.

Focus: Impact history and processes, geochemistry of regoliths, age dating of regolith materials, NEA identification and characterization

  • Evolution and Environment of Exploration Destinations: Science and Engineering Synergism (SEEED); principal investigator Carle Pieters, Brown University in Providence RI.

Focus: Thermal/chemical evolution of planetary bodies, origin and evolution of volatiles, remote sensing, space weathering of regoliths


  • Network for Exploration and Space Science (NESS); principal investigator Jack Burns, University of Colorado in Boulder, CO.

Focus: Conducting research in robotics, cosmology, astrophysics and heliophysics.

  • Exploration Science Pathfinder Research for Enhancing SS Observations (ESPRESSO); principal investigator Alex Parker, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO.

Focus: A range of science and operations objectives relevant to characterizing target surfaces and mitigating hazards that create risk for robotic and human explorers.

  • Toolbox for Research and Exploration (TREX); principal investigator Amanda Hendrix, Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, AZ.

Focus: Laboratory spectral measurements and experiments, data analysis, surface characteristics & ISRU on airless bodies.

  • Radiation Effects on Volatiles and Exploration of Asteroids & Lunar Surfaces (REVEALS); principal investigator Thomas Orlando, Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA.

Focus: Radiation chemistry, volatile formation, volatile sequestration and transport, regolith and composite materials.


  • Canadian Lunar Research Network (CLRN)[1]

Partnership signed July 2008


KARI Lunar Exploration Program Associate Partnership signed January 2016

  • UK

United Kingdom Team Partnership signed January 2009


Saudi Lunar and Near Earth Object Science Center Partnership signed December 2009


Israel Network for Lunar Science and Exploration Partnership signed in January 2010


SSERVI Netherlands Team Partnership signed in August 2010

  • DLR

German Network for Lunar Science and Exploration Partnership signed December 2010

  • Italian Team

Affiliate Partnership (INFN) signed September 2014 Associate Partnership signed June 2017

  • Australia Team

Partnership signed July 2015

  • French Team

Partnership signed May 2016


  1. ^ Atkinson, Nancy (31 July 2013). "The NASA Lunar Science Institute Gets a New Name and Expanded Focus". Universe Today. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  2. ^ "SSERVI Overview". NASA. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  3. ^ "U.S. Teams". Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Internationals". Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. Retrieved 12 April 2019.

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