Selfie of Nick Lang smiling in a hat, gray hoodie, and white t-shirt. He's standing on a dock at a lake.

Nicholas P. Lang, PhD

Discipline Scientist (IPA)

Nicholas (Nick) Lang is an IPA serving as a Discipline Scientist in the Planetary Science Division (PSD) at NASA Headquarters. He leads the Early Career Award (ECA) and Planetary Data Restoration, Archiving, and Tools (PDART) programs. Nick also serves as the cognizant civil servant for the Cassini Data Analysis (CDAP) and New Frontiers Data Analysis (NFDAP) programs and helps with the Solar System Workings (SSW) and Mars Data Analysis (MDAP) programs. Nick is also the HQ liaison to the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG).

As an IPA, Nick comes to PSD from Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA where he has been a faculty member in the geology program since 2008 and served as department chair from 2015 to 2022. His primary teaching responsibilities have emphasized undergraduate students and have mostly been in the “hard rock” portion of the curriculum including the program’s capstone field methods course taught in the western U.S.; he has also organized and led two geology courses to Costa Rica and Italy/ Greece (~30 students/class). He also helped start the university’s environmental science program in 2015 and co-directed it until 2022. Nick’s research has addressed processes that produce, modify, and sculpt planetary crusts wherever they exist in the solar system and has emphasized geologic mapping and characterization of volcanic and tectonic landforms on Earth, Venus, and Mars. Nick feels strongly that STEM opportunities should be accessible to all individuals of all backgrounds and has spent considerable time to help cultivate an inclusive atmosphere with his teaching, research, and community service as well as within the PSD efforts he contributes to. He looks forward to continuing to support and lead efforts to increase diversity and inclusiveness in the science community.

Nick earned his Bachelor’s degree in Geology from Whitman College, his Master’s degree in Geology from Vanderbilt University, and a doctoral degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota. After completing his PhD, Nick was a post-doctoral researcher for two years in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee. He enjoys going on adventures with his family, volunteering with his kids’ teams/clubs, maple syruping, and just being outside, especially if it’s playing softball!

Please direct questions or corrections on this page to