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Carle Pieters

Professor, Research:
Geological Sciences
Phone: +1 401 863 2417

I am the Science Manager of the NASA/Keck Reflectance Experiment Laboratory (RELAB), a NASA-supported spectroscopy facility at Brown that operates from 0.3 to 25 mm. I am the Principal Investigator for NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) experiment to be launched to the Moon in early 2008 and I am also Co-Investigator on Dawn, a mission to explore the asteroids Vesta and Ceres.


I have been a faculty member at Brown since 1980, after having worked several years at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sarawak. My general research efforts include planetary exploration and evolution of planetary surfaces with an emphasis on remote compositional analyses.


Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3): I am Principal Investigator for an imaging spectrometer (0.4-3.0 µm) to characterize and map the mineralogy of the Moon at high resolution. M3 was successfully launched on the Indian Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon in October 2008.

Laboratory spectroscopy experiments: We are measuring and modeling the interaction of visible to mid-infrared radiation with geologic materials. We are Developing quantitative methods for extraction of compositional information. This includes extensive measurement and analyses of lunar samples and Mars meteorites as well as other meteorites and materials.

Lunar science: We are conducting remote compositional analysis using spacecraft and telescopic multi-spectral data. Science questions focus on formation and evolution of the lunar crust and character and diversity of mare basalt types. Craters and large basins are used as probes to the interior. The character and evolution of the enormous South Pole-Aitken Basin continues to be under detailed investigation.

Space weathering: We are determining the processes responsible for altering materials in the space environment and measuring the effects of these processes on geologic samples. Derive the evolution of the regolith.

Dawn Science Team: We are participating in planning the mission to study the large asteroids Vesta and Ceres in detail. Principal responsibilities include oversight and integration of remote compositional measurements and development of links to meteorites and understanding of early solar system processes. Launched in 2007.

Asteroid - meteorite links: We are evaluating observational and experimental data to identify asteroidal source bodies for diverse meteorite types. Science focus is on evolution of the early solar system.

International collaboration: I am participating in KSGUYA (SELENE), the Japanesse mission to the Moon. Continue quantitative modeling of lunar sample data and geologic analysis of multi-spectral images with scientists at Kharkov University, Ukraine. Promoting and assisting in planning international exploration with Germany, England, Japan, Russia, and India.


Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2008.

Awarded Gerard P. Kuiper Prize, American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences, 2004.

President, ILEWG (International Lunar Exploration Working Group), elected 2002-2004.

Chair, American Association Advancement of Science, Astronomy Section, elected 2002/3.

Elected Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2001.

Named Klepser Lecturer (University of Tennessee) 2000.

Named Barringer Lecturer (University of Arkansas) 1999.

Asteroid 3713 Pieters named in honor.

President, American Geophysical Union, Planetology Section, (elected office), 1996-1998.

Board of Trustees, Universities Space Research Association (elected member), 1994-1997.

Chair, Division of Planetary Sciences, American Astronomical Society, (elected office), 1992-1993.

Secretary, American Geophysical Union, Planetology Section, (elected office), 1986-1988.

Member, Committee of the Division of Planetary Science, Am. Astron. Soc., (elected office) 1986-1989.

Chair, Universities Space Research Association, Council of Institutions (elected office), 1985-1986.


Member, Planetary Protection Advisory Committee, a NASA sponsored committee to advise the Planetary Protection Officer on forward and back contamination issues. [2002 to present]

Member, American Geophysical Union Fellows Committee [2001 to present]

Science Manager, NASA/Keck Reflectance Experiment Laboratory (RELAB) [current]

Associate Editor, Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences, 1998-present

Member, Advisory Committee, University of Arkansas/Oklahoma Space Research Consortium [current]

Member, Visiting Committee, MIT Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences [current]

Universities Space Research Association (USRA) Council of Institutions, representative for Brown University [current]

President, ILEWG (International Lunar Exploration Working Group) [2002-2004]

Chair, Solar System Exploration Survey, Inner Planets Panel, NAS/NRC [2001/2]

Member, Advisory Committee on Hall of Meteorites, American Museum of Natural History, NYC [2001/2]

Past President, Planetary Sciences Section, American Geophysical Union, 1998 - 2000


GEOL 0160: First Year Seminar: Mysteries of the Earth and Planets: Fact, Fiction, or Undetermined

GEOL 1710: Remote Sensing of Earth and Planetary Surfaces

GEOL 2810: Planetary Science Seminar: Special Topics in Spectroscopy

GEOL 2840: Asteroids and Meteorites

GEOL 2850: Regolith Processes

GEOL 2870: Planetary Evolution: Moon

Current Graduate Students:
Leah Cheek
Kerri Donaldson-Hanna
Deepak Dhingra
Daniel Moriarty

Former Graduate Students:
Janice Bishop, Ph.D. '94
Daniel Britt, Ph.D. '91
Leah Cheek, Ph.D. '13
Kerri Donaldson-Hanna, Ph.D. '13
Jessica Cohen, Sc.M. '01
Erich Fischer, Ph.D. '95
Peter Isaacson, Ph.D. '10
Rachel Klima, Ph.D. '08
John Mustard, Ph.D. '90
Sarah Noble, Ph.D. '04
Noah Petro, Ph.D. '07
Matthew Staid, Ph.D. '00
Jessica Sunshine, Ph.D. '94
Stephanie Tompkins, Ph.D. '97
Steven Yon, Sc.M. '87

Funded Research

Recent Research Grant Awards:
"Taking apart the rocks of Mars" (NNG-04GB536); C. Pieters, PI, Mars Fundamental Research Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solar System Research

"Remote Compositional Analysis Applied to Geological Studies of Planets" (NNG04GG11G) C. Pieters, PI, NASA Solar System Exploration, PGG

"Remote Assessment of Mineralogy" (NNG05G100G) C. Pieters, PI, NASA Solar System Exploration, PGG

"Mineralogy of Lunar Materials from Reflectance Spectroscopy" (NAG5-11763); C. Pieters, PI, NASA Solar System Exploration, CosmoChem

"Mineralogy of Lunar Materials from Reflectance Spectroscopy II: Rocks and Minerals" (NNG05GG15G); C. Pieters, PI, NASA Solar System Exploration, CosmChem

"Reflectance Experiment Laboratory (RELAB)" (NAG5-13609); C. Pieters, PI, NASA Solar System Exploration

Dawn [a Discovery Mission, C. Russell, PI] (2090 G DC288); C. Pieters CoI, JPL/NASA Discovery Program

Moon Mineralogy Mapper, (NNM05AB26C); C. Pieters, PI, NASA Discovery Program

Web Links

Curriculum Vitae

Download Carle Pieters's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format