Notre Dame a partner in NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute

by William G. Gilroy

Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute

The University of Notre Dame will be a partner in NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), a new organization that expands the scope of the NASA Lunar Science Institute to one that includes near-Earth asteroids and the moons of Mars.

Clive R. Neal, a Notre Dame planetary geologist, was part of a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) team that was selected for SSERVI membership. Scientists from USRA’s Lunar and Planetary Institute, the Johnson Space Center and the Arecibo Observatory and researchers from six universities, including Notre Dame, will be one of eight initial teams in SSERVI.

Under the auspices of SSERVI, the team will continue to integrate the science and exploration activities in a coordinated study of the moon and the asteroids that bombard the Earth-moon system. Those studies will include observations of existing near-Earth asteroids, studies of past collision events in the Earth-moon system and the collisional evolution of the asteroid belt that delivers those objects to near-Earth space.

Neal is a member and former chair of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, which is responsible for analyzing scientific, technical, commercial and operational issues associated with lunar exploration. The group provides findings from these analyses to NASA through the NASA Advisory Council.

He also is a member of NASA’s Lunar Science Institute, which is a select team of scientists tasked with growing the nation’s technical capabilities in lunar science and developing educational opportunities in space science.

Contact: Clive R. Neal, 574-631-8328,