We proposed Project ESPRESSO in response to the 2016 call for new NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute nodes. Project ESPRESSO represents a consortium of seven partner institutions home to 17 co-investigators, and is dedicated to enabling and enhancing future solar system exploration by developing the tools and techniques our explorers will need.

Principal Investigator: Alex H. Parker.


  1. Enhancing Operational Safety: Develop capabilities required to remotely identify operational hazards and determine mitigation strategies.
  2. Enhancing Target Selection, Sample Selection, and ISRU Potential: Develop capabilities required to safely assess targets, sites, and samples for their scientific value and resource potential.
  3. Enhancing Target Characterization and Analysis Capabilities: Develop capabilities required to enable and enhance new scientific investigations of the properties, origins, and evolutionary processes of target bodies.

Lead institution

Southwest Research Institute

Boulder, Colorado.

Partner Institutions

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland.

Lowell Observatory

Flagstaff, Arizona.

The SETI Institute

Mountain View, California

NASA Johnson Space Center

Houston, Texas.

Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, Arizona.

Planetary Science Institute

Tucson, Arizona.

Industry Partners

Integrated Spaceflight Services

Planetary Resources

Collaborative Institutions

University of Colorado

Stony Brook University

Mount Holyoke College

University of Central Florida

JHU Applied Physics Laboratory

University of Strathclyde

University of British Columbia

University of Maryland