Pioneers of Planetary Science Archives


The Pioneers of Planetary Science archives include the archives of numerous notable planetary scientists, such a Gerard Kuiper, Thomas Gehrels, Ewen Whitaker, Michael Drake, and Charles Sonnet. The bulk date of the collections range from about 1900 to the present. The field of planetary science exploded in the 1960s with the United States' – and the then U.S.S.R.s' -- intense interest in moon and space exploration. Concurrently, universities and other institutes within the United States started to focus resources on the discipline which included NASA and the University of Arizona (UA)among others. In 1960 the UA founded the Lunar and Planetary Lab(LPL) with Gerard Kuiper as director. LPL was one of the few places which engaged in studies of the solar system, which at that time provided the much needed support for the Space Race. The collections submitted to be cataloged/processed for this grant include many notable scientists, researchers, and scholars from University of Arizona who assisted the Nation in furthering our space program and understanding our solar system. Notable work and research by these individuals include participating in space missions such as Ranger 7, the Apollo Program, the Explorer Program, Pioneer 10 and 11 missions. This collection represents the history of early space exploration and would have an impact on national and international scholars alike. The Kuiper and Geherls archives also cover aspects of WWII both the scientific and military aspects.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



UA Special Collections


  • Chrystal Carpenter

Collection Size

300 linear feet

Date Range

1900 - 2012

Geographic Scope

Observatory material from AZ, HI, and Chile among others. Space exploration; solar system and moon. WWII materials (Russia, Germany & Netherlands).