Frequently Asked Questions
Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Blvd
Houston TX 77058
Q: Is the program open to non-U.S. citizens?
A: Yes, the program is open to international undergraduates as well as students from the United States.
Q: Can participants start the 10-week internship after the program start date?
A: Start dates for the internship are flexible.
Q: Where should my school send my transcript?
A: Transcripts should be sent to:
LPI Summer Intern Program
3600 Bay Area Blvd
Houston, TX 77058-1113
Note: Please add your application number from the online application, if known.
Q: When will applicants be notified of their selection?
A: All notifications should be made by March 3, 2017.
Q: Who is eligible for the program?
A: College undergraduate students with a least 50 semester hours of credit (or equivalent sophomore status) who are interested in pursuing a career in the sciences are eligible to apply. Students with majors in a physical or natural science, engineering, computer science, or mathematics have an advantage, but any eligible student may apply.
Q: Are graduates and students already holding a bachelor's degree eligible to participate in the program?
A: While we do consider the applications of graduating seniors, they are not the main focus of the program. The program is really geared for students finishing their sophomore and junior years.
Q: Where will the internship be located?
A: Interns will be located either at the Lunar and Planetary Institute or the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Q: Will I be penalized if my recommendation is sent in late?
A: Yes, applications will be penalized if letters of recommendation are missing. All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted on or before the application deadline. Letters of recommendation will not be accepted after the due date.
Q: Who should write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?
A: We encourage you to find individuals who can illustrate your qualifications, character, field experience, and commitment to public service.
Q: What are your requirements for letters of recommendation?
A: The LPI Summer Intern Program requires three letters of recommendation. Detailed instructions are included in the application. It is preferred that letters of recommendation be submitted from faculty at their current institution; however, recommendations may be submitted by other relevant persons. Examples of relevant recommendations include: teaching assistants, academic advisors, faculty from an institution previously attended, professors, employers/supervisors who can speak of your relevant experience/credentials/academic potential, etc.
Q: Can I mail in my letter of recommendation if my recommender has already written it?
A: No, we no longer accept hard copies of letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation must be attached to the application electronically.
Q: What are you looking for in an intern?
A: The advisors seek applicants who are suitable for their specific project. Interns are directly selected by the project advisors, who look for academically excellent students, and those with scientific interest and backgrounds compatible with the advisor's specific projects. Those projects are different every year as new advisors come into the program, and existing ones change their research interest and directions.
Q: How many times can I participate in the LPI Summer Internship Program?
A: If selected the applicant may only participate in the LPI Summer Internship Program once.
Q: If I am a naturalized citizen, can I still apply?
A: Yes, a naturalized citizen can apply. You will need to claim when and where you were naturalized on your application and provide an original document. Failure to do so can delay the badging process and prevent any work at the Johnson Space Center.
Q: I am a permanent resident, can I still apply?
A: Yes, you will need to claim your citizen status on your application and provide your original permanent resident card.
Q: If I have a parent who is a U.S. citizen, am I eligible to apply?
A: The citizenship of your parents does not classify you as a U.S. citizen.
Q: If I missed the deadline, can I still apply?
A: No, but we encourage you to apply next year.
Q: I attend a university that is not located within the United States, and I am having trouble entering my GPA. What should I do?
A: Most international universities probably do not use the U.S. university typical 4.0 GPA. You will need to ask your registrar’s office how your grading system translates into a 4.0 scale. Enter the number they provide for you in the appropriate field on the application.
Q: Am I allowed to take days off during my internship?
A: You’re expected to guarantee your presence for the entire duration of your internship in order to maintain the maximum continuity in the program. However, an absence is permitted for a few valid reasons including illness and binding personal and academic commitments, such as exams. If you plan to be absent for an extended period of time or for any of the aforementioned reasons, promptly notify your advisor and coordinator.
Q: What does the REAL ID Act require?
A: For more information on the REAL ID Act, please visit the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.
Q: Do interns have to report stipends to the IRS?
A: It is the responsibility of interns to report their stipend earnings to the IRS. The LPI cannot offer any specific guidance on how to file taxes since we are not tax experts. However, we recommend you refer to IRS.GOV for specific instruction.
Q: What is the dress code?
A: Dress business-casual; conservative and work-appropriate – no beach or gym clothing. No shorts, tank tops or flip-flops.