In 1976 he earned a B.S. in geology at the Arizona State University. Following his graduation he performed an internship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, during the Mars landing of that year. The following year he went to Brown University to study planetary geology, with a focus on the Moon. A year later he earned his Masters Degree and moved back to Arizona where he started working for Ron Greeley who had just joined Arizona State University. In 1982 he earned a Ph.D. in geology at the university.
After graduation he went to work for the U.S. Geological Survey. In the following years he spent in lunar studies and promoting the idea of lunar exploration. He became a principal investigator at the NASA Office of Space Science, Solar System Exploration Division planetary geology program. His specialty is in the study of volcanism and impact processes on the planets, including Mercury and Mars.
He later joined Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston as a staff scientist. Eventually he joined the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and became senior staff scientist. He returned to the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston in 2008 and is currently a Senior Staff Scientist there.
He has served as a member of the Synthesis Group in Washington D.C., a White House committee, in 1991. In 1994 he was the deputy leader of the Clementine mission science team. He has also served on numerous science advisory committees. At Johns Hopkins' APL, he developed an imaging radar system for the Indian mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1. He was a member of the 2004 Presidential Commission on the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. He is a team member of the Mini-RF experiment on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.
Spudis is well known as a leading advocate of a return to the Moon to utilize its resources to establish and supply a cislunar space transportation system.
Dr. Spudis is married to Anne M. (Seaborne) Spudis.
- Paul D. Spudis, The geology of multi-ring impact basins: The Moon and other planets, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
- Paul D. Spudis, The Once and Future Moon, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996, ISBN 1-56098-634-4.
- Ben Bussey and Paul D. Spudis, The Clementine Atlas of the Moon, Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-521-81528-2.
- Anne and Paul Spudis, Moonwake: The Lunar Frontier, Xlibris Corporation, 2005, ISBN 1-4257-0091-8.
- Paul D. Spudis, Blogging the Moon: The Once and Future Moon Collection, Apogee Prime Books, 2010, ISBN 978-1-926837-17-8
- Paul D. Spudis, The Value of the Moon: How to Explore, Live, and Prosper in Space Using the Moon's Resources, Smithsonian Books, 2016, ISBN 1588345033, ISBN 978-1588345035.
- Graham Ryder and P. D. Spudis, Volcanism prior to the termination of the heavy bombardment: Evidence, characteristics, and concepts, 1979, Conference on the Lunar Highlands Crust, 132-134.
- P. Spudis and Graham Ryder, Apollo 17 impact melts and the geology of the Taurus-Littrow highlands, 1980, Conference on Multiring Basins, 86-88.
- Spudis, P.D., S.W. Asmar, D.B.J. Bussey, N. Duxbury, L.J. Friesen, J.J. Gillis, B.R. Hawke, G. Heiken, D. Lawrence, J. Manifold, M.A. Slade, A. Smith, G.J. Taylor, and R.A. Yingst, 2002, Lunar Exploration Manned and Unmanned, in The Future of Solar System Exploration, 2003-2013 (M. Sykes, Ed.), Astron. Soc. Pacific Conf. Series 272, 77-88.
- Sorensen T.C. and Spudis P.D., 2005, The Clementine Mission – A 10-year perspective. Jour. Earth System Sci. 114, 6, 645-668.
- E. "Pete" Aldridge (Chair), C.S. Fiorina, M.P. Jackson, L. A. Leshin, L.L. Lyles, P.D. Spudis, N. D. Tyson, R.A, Walker, and M.T. Zuber, A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover, June 2004, President's Commission on Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy.
- Spudis P.D., 2011, The Moon: Port of Entry to Cislunar Space. In Toward a Theory of Space Power: Selected Essays, C.D. Lutes and P.L. Hays, eds., Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Washington DC, Chapter 12.
- Spudis, P. D. et al., 2010, Initial results for the north pole of the Moon from Mini-SAR, Chandrayaan-1 mission, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L06204, doi:10.1029/2009GL042259.
- Spudis P.D. and Lavoie A.R., 2011, Using the Resources of the Moon to Create a Permanent Cislunar Space Faring System. Space 2011 Conf. and Expos., Amer. Inst. Aeronautics Astronautics, Long Beach CA, AIAA 2011-7185, 24 pp.
- American Men & Women of Science. 22nd ed., vol. 6. New Providence, N.J. 2005, p. 1036
- JPL Small-Body Database Browser on 7560 Spudis
- Dr. Paul D. Spudis' personal web site
- The Once and Future Moon blog at Smithsonian Air and Space magazine
- Lunar and Planetary Institute
- Earth and Sky profile
- Testimony of Dr. Paul D. Spudis: Senate Hearing on "Lunar Exploration"
- Using the Resources of the Moon to Create a Permanent Cislunar Space Faring System