The primary purpose of the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) is to develop new planetary, Earth, and astrophysics space mission concepts and technology by bringing together a broad spectrum of scientists and engineers for sustained scientific and technical interaction. This unique organization links the study elements of a think tank with the implementation elements of designing and developing prototypes. The Institute is centered on the intellectual, instrumentation, and research strengths of the Caltech Campus and JPL — and augments those strengths by inviting external experts from academia, government, and industry to engage in its programs. The Institute also provides opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to actively participate in cutting edge space mission research and learning. The Institute supports significant outreach to the public and the wider technical/scientific community via open lectures and the Internet.

The Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) was established at Caltech in January 2008 with a $24 million grant over 8 years from the W. M. Keck Foundation. The Institute is a "think and do tank," whose primary purpose is to bring together a broad spectrum of scientists and engineers for sustained technical interaction aimed at developing new space mission concepts and technology.

The best expertise from the Caltech Campus, JPL, and the wider scientific and technical community, is convened at the Institute to conduct in-depth technical studies in focused areas of science and technology. These studies must concentrate on ideas that have the capability for revolutionary advances in space mission capability. Once a key innovation/challenge for a new mission or instrument concept is identified, the Institute then funds the initial steps towards making progress on that key innovation/challenge.

Please visit the Tolman/Bacher Website to read more about the history and architecture of the Tolman/Bacher House and the Keck Center.