Astrogeology Science Center

Lisa Gaddis is a Research Geologist with the Astrogeology Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, AZ, where she has worked since 1990 as a scientist, administrator and supervisor. Lisa served as Chief Scientist of Astrogeology from June 2003 to October 2007, managing a staff of 80 people and a budget of $8M. Lisa has expertise in geology and geophysics, planetary science, cartography, data archiving and space mission planning and operations. Her scientific interests include analyzing the composition, physical properties, and geologic history of planetary surfaces in our Solar System by  using remote sensing data at a variety of wavelengths. Since 1992, Lisa has been a NASA Principal Investigator on >25 research projects funded by programs such as Venus Data Analysis, Mars Data Analysis, Lunar Data Analysis, Planetary Geology & Geophysics and Lunar Advanced Science and Exploration Research.  She also was Principal Investigator of the NASA Planetary Cartography Research Program from 2003 to 2007.

Lisa has been involved in cartography research and planning in Astrogeology since 1995. She currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Mapping and Planetary Spatial Infrastructure Team, an informal NASA advisory group. In partnership with staff at USGS/Astrogeology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Lisa is Principal Investigator for the Cartography and Imaging Sciences (or just "Imaging" or IMG) Node of the NASA Planetary Data System. IMG currently manages ~850 TB of image and ancillary data from 25 planetary missions and is the primary organizer of the Planetary Data Workshop series.


  • Ph.D., Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, 1987
  • Sc.M., Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, 1981
  • A.B., Geology, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, 1979
  • Benjamin Franklin High School, New Orleans, LA, 1975


  • 1998 NASA Group Achievement Award, Mars Pathfinder Mission
  • 2004, 2008 NASA Group Achievement Award, Mars Exploration Rovers Mission
  • 2006 USGS Western Region "Excellence in Financial Management" Award
  • 2012 Fellow of the Geological Society of America
  • 2014 NASA Group Achievement Award, PDS4 Development Team
  • 2015 U.S. Department of the Interior Honor Award, Meritorius Service


  • Research experience in Planetary Surface Processes (volcanism, impact cratering, aeolian processes), Remote Sensing (quantitative analyses of multispectral and radar data for Earth, the Moon, Mars, and Venus), Planetary Cartography (radiometric, geometric and photometric data processing and analyses), and Data Archiving and Management.
  • Active participant in scientific research, cartographic processing, and/or data archiving efforts for several NASA space exploration and terrestrial remote sensing missions.
  • Experienced user of GIS and Linux- and Windows-based image processing and data vizualization software.


Lisa's flight mission experience for NASA includes roles as a Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Athena Science Team Collaborator and a member of the Long-Term Planning Science Theme group, and a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Participating Scientist. For MER, Lisa served as Payload Uplink and Downlink Leads for the Microscopic Imager, Hazcam and Navcam instruments and worked with rover drivers to obtain images supporting the design of safe maneuvers. For the LRO Camera team, Gaddis worked on targeting of lunar volcanic sites and was a primary organizer of the LRO Science Targeting Workshop. Lisa continues to be an active participant in scientific research, cartographic processing, and/or data archiving efforts for several NASA space exploration and terrestrial remote sensing missions, including Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MESSENGER, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Pathfinder, Cassini, Clementine, Galileo SSI, Magellan, SIR-C, SIR-B, AIRSAR, and AVIRIS.


Dr. Gaddis is an active member of NASA review and advisory panels for space science, space exploration, and planetary cartography. She has convened research and planetary data workshops (such as New Views of the Moon 2) and is actively involved in national and international research collaborations, workshops and meetings.  Lisa served as Editor for the Planetary Sciences Section of Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, and she has been Guest Editor of the Icarus Special Issues for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. She served as nomenclature consultant for the Earth's Moon map in the National Geographic Atlas of the World. Currently a Consulting Member of the Lunar Nomenclature Task Group of the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union (Gazeteer of Planetary Nomenclature), Gaddis also has served as Chair of the Science Council of the Lunar and Planetary Institute of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA,  From 2012-2016, Lisa served as a member of the Planetary Sciences Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC).

Education & Public Outreach

As do many Astrogeology scientists and staff, Dr. Gaddis frequently gives public presentations on research topics in earth and planetary science. She particularly enjoys speaking and working with children of all ages, and she gives in-class talks, provides tours of USGS facilities, and serves as judge in local science fairs.