In 1960, Gerard P. Kuiper founded the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in a tiny corner of the top floor of the Atmospheric Sciences Building. In 1965, with NASA funds, Kuiper began constructing the Planetary Sciences Building that now bears his name.
Manuscript collections that document important pioneers in the field of space exploration and planetary science. Chiefly comprised of scientists at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) and Steward Observatory.
Under Desert Skies tells the story of how a small corner of Arizona became Earth's ambassador to space. From early efforts to reach the Moon to the first glimpses of Mars's bleak horizons and Titan's swirling atmosphere to the latest ambitious plans to touch an asteroid, LPL's history encompasses humanity's unfolding knowledge about our place in the universe.
In 1985, to celebrate the Centennial Year of the University of Arizona and the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Associate Research Scientist Ewen Whitaker wrote the definitive history of LPL from the perspective of someone who was there at the beginning.
With the 50th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 2019, LPL joined with the community of Tucson in celebrating the history and future of lunar, and other space-based, research in southern Arizona.