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NASA Lunar Science Institute Becoming Global Center for Moon Research

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
December 13, 2010
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The NASA Lunar Science Institute at Ames is gradually becoming a global center for the study of Earth’s closest celestial neighbor. NASA recently announced a new partnership with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) that involves more than 30 organizations across that nation (see press release after the break). The Institute also has established the following partnerships:

  • Canadian Lunar Research Network (CLRN)
  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
  • Open University (United Kingdom)
  • King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) — Saudi Arabia
  • Ben-Gurion University at the Negev (Israel)
  • VU University Amsterdam.

According to the institute’s website:

The NASA Lunar Science Institute supplements and extends existing NASA lunar science programs. Supported by the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), the NLSI is managed by the NASA Ames Research Center and is 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 lunar exploration goals. Competitively selected team investigations focus on one or more aspects of lunar science — investigations of the Moon (including lunar samples), from the Moon, and/or on the Moon.

NLSI has developed a partnership program with the other international science organizations to provide collaborative opportunities for its researchers within the global science community. International partners are invited to participate in all aspects of the Institute’s activities and programs on a no-exchange-of-funds basis.

Dec. 13, 2010

NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have signed a joint agreement for collaboration in lunar science.

The partnership includes a team of more than 30 academic, commercial, and government institutions in Germany as an associate partner with the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), located at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

“Conducting collaborative research that enables cross-disciplinary partnerships across the lunar science community is key to the NASA Lunar Science Institute mission, and we are thrilled to join together with our German colleagues,” said Yvonne Pendleton, NLSI director.

The DLR-led proposal brings scientific and engineering expertise to advance the broad goals of lunar science and exploration. Specific areas of collaboration include the evolution of the moon, modeling of the lunar interior, the lunar environment, remote sensing on the moon, and enabling technologies for scientific exploration on the surface of the moon.

“Understanding the moon helps us to better understand the evolution of Earth, and thus, the moon is still a major scientific goal,” said Ralf Jaumann, DLR’s lunar science coordinator. “German scientists and engineers are very glad to join this interdisciplinary effort and collaborate with the NASA Lunar Science Institute and international partners to improve our knowledge about the Earth-moon system and help to further explore our nearest neighbor in space.”

“The exciting new alliance with the DLR will complement and enhance the NLSI team efforts and benefit lunar science around the globe,” said Greg Schmidt, NLSI deputy director.

The NLSI, a virtual institute which uses technology to bring scientists together around the world, is comprised of several competitively selected U.S. teams plus international partners who work together to advance the agency’s lunar science goals. Supported by the NASA Science Mission Directorate and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, the NLSI is managed by a central office located at the NASA Ames Research Center.

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