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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Dawn mission discovers hydrogen on giant asteroid Vesta (w/ Video)

(—The first measurements of the elemental composition of the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta indicate that hydrogen was brought to the body by impactors, research by a team led by Planetary Science Institute ...

Saturn's moon Dione covered by mysterious stripes

Mysterious straight bright stripes have been discovered on Saturn's moon Dione, says research by Planetary Science Institute Associate Research Scientist Alex Patthoff.

Polar wandering on dwarf planet Ceres revealed

Dwarf planet Ceres experienced an indirect polar reorientation of approximately 36 degrees, a new paper by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Pasquale Tricarico says.

Landslides, avalanches may be key to long-term comet activity

The release of gases through sublimation is the defining process of comets, but a new paper by Planetary Science Institute Research Scientist Jordan K. Steckloff and Senior Scientist Nalin H. Samarasinha says that periodic ...

Discovering trailing components of a coronal mass ejection

Using Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, PSI Associate Research Scientist Elizabeth A. Jensen's team observed radio signals from the MESSENGER spacecraft and discovered that solar eruptions known to cause communication ...

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