Planetary Science Institute

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Planetary Science Institute
FocusPlanetary science
DirectorMark V. Sykes
LocationTucson, Arizona, United States
Address1700 East Fort Lowell, Suite 106

The Planetary Science Institute (PSI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research institute based in Tucson, Arizona, focusing on planetary science. As of 2018, its director is Dr. Mark V. Sykes.[1]

Founded in 1972,[2] PSI 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 starting in 2015. It 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.

PSI'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.


  1. ^ "Leadership". Planetary Science Institute. Archived from the original on November 16, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  2. ^ "About Us". Planetary Science Institute. Archived from the original on January 30, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2018.

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Coordinates: 32°15′51″N 110°56′47″W / 32.2643°N 110.9464°W / 32.2643; -110.9464