Paul D. Spudis (1952–2018) was an American geologist and lunar scientist. His specialty was the study of volcanism and impact processes on the planets, including Mercury and Mars.

Paul Spudis
Paul Dee Spudis

1952 (1952)[1][2]
Bowling Green, Kentucky, U.S.A.[3]
Died (aged 66)
Houston, Texas, USA.[2]

Spudis was well known as a leading advocate of a return to the Moon to use its resources to establish and supply a cislunar space transportation system.[4]

Early life and educationEdit

In 1976 he earned a B.S. in geology at the Arizona State University. Following his graduation he performed an internship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, during the Mars landing of that year. The following year he went to Brown University to study planetary geology, with a focus on the Moon. A year later he earned his master's degree and moved back to Arizona where he started working for Ron Greeley who had just joined Arizona State University. In 1982 he earned a PhD in geology at the university.

Early careerEdit

After graduation, he went to work for the U.S. Geological Survey. In the following years he spent in lunar studies and promoting the idea of lunar exploration. He became a principal investigator at the NASA Office of Space Science, Solar System Exploration Division, planetary geology program. He later joined Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston as a staff scientist.

Later careerEdit

Eventually Spudis joined the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and became senior staff scientist. He returned to the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston in 2008 and was a senior staff scientist there.

He served as a member of a 1991 White House committee, the Synthesis Group, in Washington D.C. In 1994 he was the deputy leader of the Clementine mission science team. He also served on numerous science advisory committees. At Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory he developed an imaging radar system for the Indian mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1. He was a member of the 2004 Presidential Commission on the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. He was a team member of the Mini-RF experiment on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.

Personal lifeEdit

Spudis was born in Kentucky to Mattie Wren.[3][2]

He was married to Anne M. Seaborne until his death.[2]

Spudis died on 29 August 2018 of complications from lung cancer.[5][6]


In 2016 the American Society of Civil Engineers awarded him the Columbia Medal.[7][8]

The inner main-belt asteroid 7560 Spudis is named in honor of Paul Spudis.[9]

A crater on the moon called Spudis is also named after him. This crater is next to the famous Shackleton crater on the south polar region of the Moon, which has been an area of particular interest for future lunar landing missions.


  1. ^ "Paul Dee Spudis". American Men & Women of Science. Vol. 6 (22nd ed.). New Providence, N.J. 2005. p. 1036.
  2. ^ a b c d "Paul Spudis". Biography. IMDb.
  3. ^ a b "Kentucky Births, 1911-1999".
  4. ^ "Testimony of Dr. Paul D. Spudis: Senate Hearing on "Lunar Exploration"". 6 November 2003. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  5. ^ Foust, Jeff (August 2018). "29 Lunar scientist and exploration advocate Paul Spudis passes away". Space News. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  6. ^ David, Leonard (30 August 2018). "With the passing of Paul Spudis, we lost one of the biggest Moon-exploration experts". Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Paul Spudis dies at age 66". Astronomy Magazine.
  8. ^ 2016 Columbia Medal acceptance speech – Paul Spudis (video). 19 April 2016. Archived from the original on 13 December 2021 – via YouTube. American Society of Civil Engineers 2016 Columbia Medal acceptance speech and technical talk by Paul D. Spudis, Lunar and Planetary Institute
  9. ^ Chamberlin, Alan. "JPL Small-Body Database Browser". Retrieved 8 March 2017.


Complete bibliography at "Bibliography". Spudis’ personal website.

  • Spudis, Paul D. (1993). The geology of multi-ring impact basins: The Moon and other planets. Cambridge University Press.
  • Spudis, Paul D. (1996). The Once and Future Moon. Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-56098-634-4.
  • Spudis, Anne; Spudis, Paul D. (2005). Moonwake: The Lunar Frontier. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1-4257-0091-8.
  • Spudis, Paul D. (2010). Blogging the Moon: The Once and Future Moon Collection. Apogee Prime Books. ISBN 978-1-926837-17-8.
  • Spudis, Paul D. (2016). The Value of the Moon: How to Explore, Live, and Prosper in Space Using the Moon's Resources, Smithsonian Books. ISBN 978-1588345035., ISBN 978-1588345035
  • Ryder, Graham; Spudis, Paul D. (1979). Volcanism prior to the termination of the heavy bombardment: Evidence, characteristics, and concepts. Conference on the Lunar Highlands Crust. pp. 132–134.
  • Spudis, Paul D.; Ryder, Graham (1980). Apollo 17 impact melts and the geology of the Taurus-Littrow highlands. Conference on Multiring Basins. pp. 86–88.
  • Spudis, P.D.; Asmar, S.W.; Bussey, D.B.J.; Duxbury, N.; Friesen, L.J.; Gillis, J.J.; et al. (2002). Sykes, M. (ed.). The Future of Solar System Exploration, 2003-2013. Lunar Exploration Manned and Unmanned. Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series 272. pp. 77–88.
  • Aldridge, E. "Pete" (Chair); Fiorina, C.S.; Jackson, M.P.; Leshin, L.A.; Lyles, L.L.; Spudis, P.D.; et al. (June 2004). A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover. President's Commission on Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy.
  • Spudis, P.D. (2011). "Chapter 12. The Moon: Port of Entry to Cislunar Space". In Lutes, C.D.; Hays, P.L. (eds.). Toward a Theory of Space Power: Selected Essays. Institute for National Strategic Studies. Washington DC: National Defense University.
  • Spudis, P.D.; Lavoie A.R. (2011). Using the Resources of the Moon to Create a Permanent Cislunar Space Faring System. Space 2011 Conference and Exposition. Long Beach, CA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. p. 24. AIAA 2011-7185.

External linksEdit