10 Facts About LPL

  1. The Department of Planetary Sciences/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is an academic institution that pursues scholarly research and education across the broad discipline of planetary and solar systems science through use of theoretical studies and data analysis, laboratory and field investigations, numerical modeling, telescopic observations, remote sensing, spacecraft instrumentation, and space mission development and operations.
  2. LPL is a community of approximately 250 faculty, research and staff scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, research associates, and support staff.
  3. Most years, about 30% of PTYS graduate students are funded with fellowships awarded in national competitions.
  4. Approximately 80% of PTYS graduates are still active in the field of solar system sciences or astronomy, many in roles of leadership in national organizations and NASA advisory boards.
  5. External funding from all sources exceeds $25M for the most recent fiscal year.
  6. Faculty have served as either principal or co-investigators on many spacecraft instruments and missions. LPL faculty are currently involved in Cassini (Saturn), MESSENGER (Mercury), Juno (Jupiter), MRO (Mars), WISE, and Mars Odyssey.
  7. LPL successfully led and managed surface operations for the PHOENIX Mars mission, becoming the first university organization to manage a planetary mission.
  8. In May 2011, LPL was selected by NASA to lead the OSIRIS-REx sample return mission to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, a mission scheduled to launch in 2016 and return samples in 2023.
  9. LPL’s Spacewatch was the first program to discover an asteroid using electronic detection, and LPL’s Catalina Sky Survey has discovered most of the near-Earth asteroids found since 2005.
  10. According to recent (May 2011) Thomson Reuters data, the UA (primarily LPL) was the top-ranked research university in the world for planetary exploration with regard to publications and citations in the scientific literature for the period 2001-2011.
Department of Planetary Sciences
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
The University of Arizona
1629 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ  85721-0092
520-621-6963