Planetary Science Research Discoveries

Planetary scientists sharing ideas and discoveries.

Planetary Science Research Discoveries (PSRD) is an educational site sharing the latest research by NASA-sponsored scientists on meteorites, asteroids, planets, moons, and other materials in our Solar System. The website is supported by the Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate and by Hawai'i Space Grant Consortium and is a vital link for planetary and space sciences, and for learning how science works.

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About PSRD

[ Who we are   |   Sponsors   |   Uses & copyrights   |   How to cite ]
[ Submission guidelines for contributors   |   Accessibility Statement ]
[ Privacy Statement   |   General Resources   |   Social Media   |   Awards ]

Enlightening Inquisitive Minds

Welcome to the PSRD website, a place to learn about the fascinating discoveries being made by planetary scientists. What are we finding out about the building blocks of planets and the building blocks of life? What's in an asteroid, in stardust, in a comet? Here you can discover for yourself the excitement of doing science and finding answers to these and more questions, through the eyes of today's researchers. We take to heart NASA's emphasis on communication and education. A goal of this website is "Educational Excellence," specifically, to "... inspire America's students, create learning opportunities, and enlighten inquisitive minds." We explore the science questions that researchers are actively pursuing, and explain how the answers are discovered and what they mean.

PSRD is a dynamic website covering hot topics in cosmochemistry and planetary sciences. Cosmochemistry is an interdisciplinary science that overlaps with geochemistry, geology, astronomy, astrophysics, and geophysics to discover the materials and fundamental processes in the solar nebula and our Solar System. These sciences give us complementary ways of looking at our origins by addressing questions such as, How did the Sun and planets form? Where did we come from? Cosmochemistry is a careful examination of the building blocks of the cosmos, and will play an important role in our ability to develop local resources on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids, essential to sustained human presence in space.

The PSRD website features Headline articles illustrated with graphics and animations, pdf versions for easier printing, short slide summaries of articles, CosmoSparks reports, a comprehensive archive, news links, glossary, search engine, subscription service, rss feed, social-media sharing links, and comments page. The Headline article of the month is shown on our homepage and all the articles and reports from our entire collection are available in the archive. Use the navigation links on the page tops or bottoms to move throughout the website.

We began working on PSRD in September, 1996. The first articles were posted in October, 1996. In February, 2001 we moved to our current address: In mid-2010 we reviewed the old legacy HTML originally intended for the very first web browsers and updated the site with a custom search engine and new design using current web standards and best practices. We gratefully acknowledge NASA's Cosmochemistry Program for funding our first 20 years and NASA's Planetary Science Division for ongoing support. This is an active project and additional resources are added as needed.

Who We Are

Development, operation, content, and overall editorial management of the PSRD website are provided by cofounders G. Jeffrey Taylor and Linda M.V. Martel. We are planetary geoscientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UH).

Jeff Taylor is the recipient of the 2008 Carl Sagan Medal awarded by the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society—for excellence in public communication of planetary science. See the SOEST Press Release for more details about this wonderful honor.

Jeff also received the 2011 Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award, presented by the NASA Lunar Science Institute—in recognition of his significant scientific contributions and leadership roles. Read more about his views on science and career advice in Jeff's Q&A with NASA's Solar System Exploration.

Linda Martel is the recipient of the 2018 Service Award presented by the Meteoritical Society—for advancing the Society's goals of promoting research and education in meteoritics and planetary science in ways other than by conducting scientific research, i.e. this PSRD website.

Jeff Taylor and Ron Fodor are coauthors of IMPACT! a Kindle eBook novel that tells a story centering around the threat of an Earth-crossing asteroid.

Sponsoring Organizations

NASA logo Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Space Grant Logo Hawai'i Space Grant Consortium at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.
Computer operational support is provided by Eric J. Pilger, Systems Administrator, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

Use Agreement & Copyrights for PSRD

Please read this visitor's use agreement; by using this website, you accept its terms. We may change these terms from time to time without notice. By continuing to use the website after we post any such changes, you accept this agreement, as modified.

PSRD makes every effort to bring you current and accurate information. Each article is reviewed by appropriate researchers before being released to the general public. Some information accessed through the PSRD website may be preliminary. Conclusions drawn from information on this website are the responsibility of the user.

All copyrights are honored and noted. Articles and reports created for this website are the property of PSRD and are protected by copyright. Information you receive through the PSRD website may be displayed and printed for personal, educational, and non-commercial uses, provided the PSRD credit is maintained. You may not otherwise reproduce the materials in electronic, print, or other publications without consent of PSRD. Furthermore, pages in this website may not be translated, transmitted, framed or stored in a retrieval system for public or private use without written permission from PSRD. Requests for permissions should be emailed to, or mailed to

Dr. G. Jeffrey Taylor
PSRD Website
Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
1680 East-West Road, POST 524
Honolulu, HI 96822

Images credited to NASA are in the public domain and permission is not required for use or duplication. Permission to use all other images or art work must be requested from the individuals or institutions credited. You may contact for assistance.

The names Planetary Science Research Discoveries, PSRD, PSRD, and PSR Discoveries are copyrighted by G. Jeffrey Taylor and Linda M. V. Martel.

Citation Conventions

PSRD recommends following the Columbia Guide to Online Style for documenting Internet sources by Janice Walker and Todd Taylor. When citing PSRD articles or reports, provide the following information:

1. The author's name, written as: last name, first name or initial.
2. Date of publication, enclosed in parentheses.
3. Full title of the document.
4. Title of the complete work, written in italics.
5. Full URL.
6. Date you accessed the online source, written in parentheses.

Here is an example:
Taylor, G. Jeffrey (Oct. 1996) Life on Mars? The Evidence and the Debate. Planetary Science Research Discoveries. (30 Jan. 2016).

Submission Guidelines for Contributors

PSRD website is open to all who wish to contribute an article suited for the interdisciplinary nature of planetary science with appropriate connections to cosmochemistry. PSRD provides a forum for NASA-funded scientists to fulfill their outreach responsibilities. A key requirement is that PSRD articles are based on scientific work published in recognized, peer-reviewed journals. This excludes newsletters or highly-biased publications as eligible sources. PSRD articles are reviewed by appropriate researchers or the PSRD Editorial Advisory Board prior to publication.

Additionally, Dwornik Student Paper and Poster award winners are invited to submit an article based on their award-winning presentations. These student research projects receive recognition at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (held each March in Texas) after careful review and judging by a panel of planetary geoscientists.

Articles should be written in English for a general audience, with a minimum of scientific jargon. If you need to use technical language, we'll add the terms to our ever-expanding glossary. Write it in the first person. Feel free to add something about your motivation for doing the work. Articles should not exceed about five pages (single-spaced). Begin the article with a one-paragraph summary of the theme and main points. We prefer images and graphics submitted in electronic formats, but prints suitable for electronic scanning are acceptable. All images or graphics may be resized at the discretion of the editors. Images and graphics used in PSRD articles or reports will be fully credited to, and will remain the property of, the contributor. PSRD may also produce additional graphics in consultation with the author.

When communicating with us, please include your name, address, email address, telephone number, and reference of the paper(s) on which your PSRD article is based.

Electronic submission is preferred, to:

or fax to: (808) 956-6322

or mail to:
Dr. G. Jeffrey Taylor
PSRD Website
Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
1680 East-West Road, POST 524
Honolulu, HI 96822

Accessibility Statement

The PSRD web pages are accessible and compliant with the World Wide Web Consortium's accessibility guidelines. We use a simple site navigation and for all images we provide alternate text, alt attributes, and captions. Since mid-2010 we use cascading style sheets and these web pages have been validated using If you encounter any accessibility problem in the PSRD website please contact us with a description of the problem and we will make every effort to solve it.

Privacy Statement

Information Collected and How it is Used. PSRD is hosted on a server at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. As with all internet websites, PSRD collects some information indirectly from all users visiting our website. What is collected and how it is used is explained below.

System Logging. Our web server and email systems keep log files about network transactions. Our policy is to destroy these logs after they are 30 days old. We do analyze our web log files to calculate statistics on which pages are visited. We do not track individuals with this information. Email addresses of messages sent from our system are logged. These logs are not viewed unless necessary for security reasons and are deleted after 30 days.

Internet Addresses. PSRD gathers Internet Protocol Address (IP Addresses) and pages viewed as part of the logging system within our web server. When calculating statistics on visits and pages viewed IP addresses are used in broad calculations. IP address are never used to identify someone personally unless a security breach requires such an investigation.

Use of Cookies. No privacy or personal information is stored in a cookie from this website. We may use session cookies for visitors to our site in the future, but we have no plans to do so. A session cookie is a temporary file stored in a web browser that is deleted when it either expires or the browser is closed. We may store a temporary number which helps us understand traffic patterns.

Third Party Disclosure. PSRD does not disclose information to third parties.

Subscription List. PSRD provides an optional, email-based mailing list through the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. Email addresses collected in the maintenance of this list are not shared outside of SOEST.

Links to External Sites. PSRD links to other sites for the convenience of our readers. We are not responsible for the content or collection practices of these sites and recommend you read their privacy policies before providing them information.

Additional Information. Also read NASA's Web Privacy Policy.

General Resources

Links to all sorts of great space-related websites for students and all readers can be found here: general resources.

Social Media

See what PSRD is busy doing at these media links.


PSRD has been recognized with numerous awards as a quality educational science website.

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