The Planetary Science Institute (PSI) is a research institute based in Tucson, Arizona, focusing on planetary science. Founded in 1972 on a non-profit basis, it is involved in many NASA missions, the study of Mars, asteroids, comets, interplanetary dust, the formation of the Solar System, extrasolar planets, the origin of life, and other scientific topics. It is now actively participating in the Dawn mission, scheduled to explore Vesta between 2011 and 2012, and Ceres in 2015. PSI manages the spacecraft's Gamma-Ray and Neutron Detector, which will map the surfaces of the two minor planets to determine how they were formed and evolved. The Institute's orbit@home is a distributed computing project through which the public can help in the search for near-Earth objects. The Institute is also involved in science education through school programs, popular science books and art. Its scientific Staff are distributed in 16 US states and in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Russia and Australia. Its present director (2009) is Dr. Mark V. Sykes.


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New chronology of the Saturn system

A new chronology for the moons of Saturn has been developed by Planetary Science Institute Associate Research Scientist Samuel W. Bell.

New method determines planetary regolith thermal conductivity

A new analytic model for calculating the effective thermal conductivity of planetary regolith allows scientists to better understand the connections between the physical and thermal properties of planetary surfaces and the ...

Impacts on asteroids produce regolith, erase small craters

Impact cratering both produces new regolith and causes seismic events that can degrade and erase small craters on the surface of asteroids, a paper by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist James Richardson says. 

SWIM project maps potential sources of Mars water

Missions carrying humans to Mars will require on-site resources, and a project led by Planetary Science Institute (PSI) scientists Nathaniel Putzig and Gareth Morgan is mapping the availability of potential shallow water-ice ...

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