A University of New Mexico research scientist and professor is being recognized nationally for his contributions to planetary geology by the Geological Society of America.

Charles 'Chip' Shearer, a Senior Research Scientist for the Institute of Meteoritics and Research Professor within the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was recently awarded the 2024 G.K. Gilbert Award.

The annual award recognizes people for their work in the planetary geology field. 

"I just so appreciate my mentors who helped me get this far, and so many of my colleagues at UNM and other institutions that I have been fortunate to collaborate with on important sciences," Shearer said. "They're just as much responsible for me getting this award than me." 

Shearer, who’s been with the University since 1990, is well known for his studies on the Moon's history, involved in the UNM Sustainable Space Research Grand Challenge, and leads the NASA-funded CASA Moon initiative here in New Mexico.

"We have at UNM and New Mexico significant untapped talent with regards to planetary space science and exploration," Shearer said. "This is a step in recognizing that we have that talent here and hopefully we can grow that even more." 

Shearer is also the Originator and Promoter of the Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) program and co-led the ANGSA team of scientists and engineers to open up Apollo mission samples that were stored away for 50 years and used new technology to examine them.

"This was a great link from the first generation of planetary explorers associated with Apollo to the future generations of planetary explorers," Shearer said. 

He will be awarded this September in Anaheim, Calif.