Press Release

International Students Receive Hands-On Research Opportunities in Lunar Geology and Aerospace Engineering

By SpaceRef Editor
July 2, 2011
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The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas, and the University of Texas at Arlington recently hosted five undergraduate students from the Indian Institute of Science and Technology (IIST) in Thiravanathapuram, India. The students were accepted as part of the 2011 Universities Space Research Association (USRA) undergraduate student research program.

Beginning April 1, this 13-week program provided the IIST students with the unique opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research in lunar and planetary science. The students worked closely with LPI scientists on research projects pertaining to lunar geology, with particular emphasis on the geology of impact craters by using recently acquired imagery from current lunar missions.

The program was made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between USRA and IIST. The University of Texas at Arlington also participated in the program as a collaborative partner. The program culminated with a closing ceremony on June 23, during which the students presented the results of the research they had conducted while at the LPI and UT Arlington. Presentations were also made by LPI postdoctoral fellows Dr. Gerald Galgana and Dr. Juliane Gross. The ceremony opened with comments by Dr. Donald Kniffen, USRA Vice President for Science; Dr. Stephen Mackwell, LPI Director; and Dr. Erian Armanios, Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington; and it concluded with a reception honoring the students. Dr. Hussein Jirdeh, USRA Director of University Relations, also attended the ceremony. LPI Director, Dr. Stephen Mackwell, remarked on the success of the inaugural program, stating that “the high caliber of the student participants and the results of their research will clearly have a significant impact on future collaborations within the international scientific community.”

About the Lunar and Planetary Institute

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) is a research institute that provides support services to NASA and the planetary science community, and conducts planetary science research under the leadership of staff scientists, visiting researchers, and postdoctoral fellows. The LPI is operated by USRA under a cooperative agreement with the Science Mission Directorate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

About USRA

Founded in 1969, USRA is an independent research corporation with competencies that span space, Earth, and life sciences related disciplines, which are closely aligned with the nation’s science and national security agencies. As a non-profit corporation with 105 major research university members, USRA’s scientific and technical staff collaborate with over 400 universities annually. This depth of reach into the research community provides a unique platform for advancing science and technology. SOURCE Universities Space Research Association

CONTACT: Dr. Hussein Jirdeh, +1-410-730-2656,

SpaceRef staff editor.