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Research Geologist Position

Thursday, October 14, 2010

  • Are you a recent PhD graduate in planetary science looking for a research opportunity?
  • Do you have a passion for planetary geology?
  • Do you want to be part of an important aspect of ground breaking research in planetary science?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, then this is the job for you! Come join the USGS and start doing the job you've always dreamed of!

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IT Specialist Positions Available

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Come join the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona and start doing the job you've always dreamed of! Help to grow our high performance computing datacenter for processing digital images from planetary spacecraft missions including the Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, & Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Our Linux-based servers and compute clusters provide raw processing power to 80+ employees. We have two 50+ CPU compute clusters, along with 400+ terabytes of disk storage capacity.

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Shoemaker Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Opening

Friday, July 30, 2010

The U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, has a two-year full-time research position now open. The position is at the GS-12 grade level (comparable to a post-doctoral researcher in academia). Funded by the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics (PGG) Program, this position is generally known as the NASA 'Shoemaker Fellow' at USGS in honor of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker. The selected Fellow will work at the Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff on a variety of research projects in planetary science. The position is managed and supervised by the Astrogeology Science Center. The application opportunity will be open from 7/29/10 to 8/18/10.

Continue reading "Shoemaker Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Opening"

NAU CENS Career Fair - Internship Opportunities!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

USGS Astrogeology Research Program will have representatives at the NAU CENS Career Fair on October 11, 2007, at the du Bois Center on NAU's south campus from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. The career fair is held fall and spring semesters for the students of Northern Arizona University's College of Engineering and Natural Science.

Currently, Astrogeology has several internship opportunity offerings. There are two year-round computer programming internships open for Computer Science majors, or other majors with a Computer Science minor. We have a web developer internship open for Visual Communications, Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, or other talented student with some experience with web page layout and design. Students who have a strong programming background are also welcome to apply. Please bring a resume to the NAU CENS Career Fair and drop it off with the folks at the USGS table. Astrogeology also has an image analyst internship working with space mission data for a geology major or other science major. USGS Astrogeology internships are advertised through NAU Gateway and Facebook Marketplace.

Whether you're interested in an internship with the USGS, or you're interested in a career with the USGS or other federal science agency, stop by the NAU CENS Career Fair to chat! Our representatives are Astrogeology computer scientists, information technology specialists, and interns who want to share their unique experiences working on space exploration missions, planetary research, and great projects that support NASAs space science mission. There will be plenty of information about Astrogeology, the USGS, and pursuing careers in the federal government.

For more information about working for the USGS Astrgeology Research Program, see our Careers page. Students who are unable to make it to the career fair may e-mail resumes to

Wanna Be An Astronaut?

Friday, September 21, 2007

NASA's hiring several new astronauts! The positions are advertised on the USAJobs website. Duties are described as:

Astronauts are involved in all aspects of assembly and on-orbit operations of the ISS. This includes extravehicular activities (EVA), robotics operations using the remote manipulator system, experiment operations, and onboard maintenance tasks. Astronauts are required to have a detailed knowledge of the ISS systems, as well as detailed knowledge of the operational characteristics, mission requirements and objectives, and supporting systems and equipment for each experiment on their assigned missions.

Long-duration missions aboard the ISS generally last from 3 to 6 months. Training for long duration missions is very arduous and takes approximately 2 to 3 years. This training requires extensive travel, including long periods away in other countries training with our international partners. Travel to and from the ISS will be by Space Shuttle until its retirement in 2010. Following the Shuttle retirement, all trips to and from the ISS will be aboard the Russian Soyuz vehicle. Consequently, astronauts must meet the Soyuz size requirements. Additional information about the position can be found at

USAJobs: Astronaut Candidate - Announcement Number JS07A0176 (open until July 2008)

New Google Moon features USGS Astro's work!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

google moon screenshot
Screenshot of the Google Moon webpage, displaying map of the Apollo 17 landing site and a photo of Apollo astronaut Jack Schmitt at Tracy's Rock.

Google Moon has been completely revamped, and now features a variety of images and maps created by the USGS Astrogeology Research Program, including a global mosaic from the Clementine mission, terrain, shaded relief map, geologic maps, and high resolution Apollo maps. For more information about the contributors, see the About Google Moon page.

New PBS Special on Astronomy and Interactive Web Site

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"Seeing in the Dark," a dramatic new PBS special by award-winning journalist and author Timothy Ferris, premieres at 8 pm September 19th on most PBS stations (check local listings for exact dates and times.) It explores the delights and rewards of amateur astronomy and chronicles the contributions that amateurs are making to the science and art of astronomy. The program was produced in state-of-the-art high definition and features beautiful images and animations that range from the planets to depths of space.

Accompanying the show is a new interactive web site. Among the many things you can do at the web site are:

  • view or print "Your Sky Tonight" sky chart
  • watch introductory "how-to-videos" on getting started with the hobby of astronomy
  • read more about the astronomers featured in the show and get background information about the astronomy it covers
  • explore a series of class-room tested, hands-on activities for students in grades 2 through 12
  • browse through a gallery of beautiful color images of the cosmos
  • find a star whose light left on its journey toward us in the year you were born
  • discover some fun projects and games for families
  • watch the amazing special effects videos from Seeing in the Dark on your computer
  • browse through links to some of the best web sites for learning more about astronomy, and finding an astronomy club near you
More: PBS - Seeing in the Dark

Cassini's Closest Visit of Iapetus

Friday, September 7, 2007

Cassini image
On New Year's Eve 2004, Cassini flew past Saturn's intriguing moon Iapetus, capturing the four visible light images that were put together to form this global view.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
On Sept. 10, the Cassini spacecraft performs its closest flyby during the entire mission of the odd moon Iapetus, passing by about 1,640 kilometers (1,000 miles). Iapetus is a world of sharp contrasts. The leading hemisphere is as dark as a freshly-tarred street, and the white, trailing hemisphere resembles freshly-fallen snow. Scientists want to know more about the composition of the dark material that coats Iapetus. They also want to learn more about Iapetus' distinctive walnut shape and the chain of mountains along its equator.

More: NASA Cassini-Huygens Iapetus Flyby

More: NASA - Encountering Iapetus (image right)

HiRISE Camera Returns New View of Dark Pit on Mars

Friday, September 7, 2007

dark  pit on mars
HiRISE image of a dark pit seen on Mars. The pit is a vertical shaft that cuts through lava flow on the flank of the Arsia Mons volcano.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) has confirmed that a dark pit seen on Mars in an earlier HiRISE image really is a vertical shaft that cuts through lava flow on the flank of the Arsia Mons volcano. Such pits form on similar volcanoes in Hawaii and are called "pit craters."

More: NASA - Dark Pit on Mars' Arsia Mons, with Sunlit Wall

More: UA News - HiRISE Camera Returns New View of Dark Pit on Mars

More: LPL - HiRISE access images, news, and and instrument information

Mars Rovers Survive Dust Storms, Ready for Next Objectives

Friday, September 7, 2007

Two months after sky-darkening dust from severe storms nearly killed NASA's Mars exploration rovers, the solar powered robots are awake and ready to continue their mission. Opportunity's planned descent into the giant Victoria Crater was delayed, but now the rover is preparing to drive into the 800-meter-diameter crater (half-mile-diameter) as early as Sept. 11. Victoria Crater contains an exposed layer of bright rocks that may preserve evidence of interaction between the Martian atmosphere and surface from millions of years ago, when the atmosphere might have been different from today's. Victoria is the biggest crater Opportunity has visited.

Spirit, Opportunity's rover twin, also survived the global dust storms. The rovers are 43 months into missions originally planned to last three months. On Sept. 5, Spirit climbed onto its long-term destination called Home Plate, a plateau of layered bedrock bearing clues to an explosive mixture of lava and water.

More: NASA - Mars Rovers Survive Dust Storms, Ready for Next Objectives

More: NASA Podcast - Opportunity knocks -- on a Martian crater

NASA shuttle to launch Luke's lightsaber

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When the space shuttle Discovery launches the STS-120 crew in October, the force will be with them. Stowed on-board the orbiter, in addition to a new module for the international space station, will be the original prop lightsaber used by actor Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in the 1977 film "Star Wars". The laser-like Jedi weapon is being flown to the orbiting outpost and back in honor of the 30th anniversary of director George Lucas' franchise. Before it can make its trip to orbit though, the lightsaber will first fly to Houston, Texas, home of NASA's Johnson Space Center, by way of Southwest Airlines and a Star Wars-studded send off from Oakland International Airport in California on Tuesday.

More: collectSPACE - NASA shuttle to launch Luke's lightsaber

Rovers get back to work

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

After six weeks of hunkering down during raging dust storms that limited solar power, both of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have resumed driving. Opportunity advanced 13.38 meters (44 feet) toward the edge of Victoria Crater on Aug. 21. Mission controllers were taking advantage of gradual clearing of dust from the sky while also taking precautions against buildup of dust settling onto the rover.

No new storms have been lifting dust into the air near either solar-powered rover in the past two weeks. Skies are gradually brightening above both Spirit and Opportunity. "The clearing could take months," said rover Project Scientist Bruce Banerdt. "There is a lot of very fine material suspended high in the atmosphere." As that material does settle out of the air, the powdery dust is accumulating on surfaces such as the rovers' solar panels and instruments. More dust on the solar panels lessens the panels' capacity for converting sunlight to electricity, even while more sunlight is getting through the clearer atmosphere.

More: NASA - Rovers Resume Driving

Flagstaff Festival of Science: September 21-30, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dig Science in the southern Utah desert, the Martian north pole and under the ice in Antarctica. Get ready to uncover a world of mystery and discovery! Join us for the 2007 Flagstaff Festival of Science!

Lead scientist in the excavation of the therizinosaur skeleton and Festival keynote presenter Dr. David Gillette is scheduled to kick off the free 10-day event with Therizinosaur -- Mystery of the Sickle Claw Dinosaur at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21 in Ardrey Auditorium at Northern Arizona University. When the therizinosaur (thair-uh-zi’-na-sore) skeleton was found in the southern Utah desert, scientists were stumped. The puzzling discovery of this odd, eight-foot-tall gangly dinosaur and how it became lost in an unfriendly sea will set the stage for the 2007 Flagstaff Festival of Science when scientists explore Dino Might.

In addition to several talks by USGS scientists throughout the 10-day festival, there will be talks, open houses, star parties, and tours at Lowell Observatory, Naval Observatory, as NAU Campus Observatory, as well as many other events related to astronomy, space science, engineering, archaeology, weather, ecology, and much, much more!

Just a few of the other USGS and space science related events during the Festival of Science include:

Saturday, Sept. 22
Science in the Park
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Wheeler Park
Perform mock heart surgery, spot an avalanche before it happens, get on board with the Phoenix Mars Mission and uncover the secrets of the Sinagua. This hands-on adventure will have you digging for fossils, understanding conditions in space and exploring sustainable living. From tree roots that dig into the earth to tree rings that dig into the past, people of all ages will Dig Science at Wheeler Park!

Mountain Campus Science and Engineering Day
1 – 4 p.m., NAU Wettaw Building, #88
Attend an exciting chemistry magic show, handle favorite ugly bugs, experience mini Baja and electric cars, see bizarre life forms in plants, view through an electron microscope and solar telescope, make balloon and Alka-Seltzer rockets, have body composition tests performed and operate a seismograph. Don’t miss the tsunamis, earthquakes and aquifers in stereo through the three-dimensional Geo-Wall.

Tuesday, Sept. 25
Phoenix Mars Scout Mission
Carla Bitter, UofA
7 p.m. Museum of Northern Arizona
Launched last month, the Phoenix Mars Scout Mission lander is on its way to the Martian north pole. Find out what signatures of life scientists hope to uncover when a robotic arm digs into the arctic soil!

Wednesday, Sept. 26
Titan’s Methane Monsoon
Dr. Henry Roe, Lowell Observatory
7 p.m. Museum of Northern Arizona
Saturn’s moon, Titan, has been fascinating astronomers with its dry riverbeds, giant ice mountains, drifting methane clouds and liquid methane lakes. Hear from one man who watches Titan almost nightly to gauge the bizarre atmosphere and its impact on this moon’s surface.

Thursday, Sept. 27
Checking in with Mars Rovers
Dr. Ken Herkenhoff, USGS
5 p.m., Lowell Observatory
They have far exceeded their expected lifetimes! Spirit and Opportunity, the hard-working robotic field geologists, keep on going. Hear about their discoveries of ancient water activity on the red planet.

Friday, Sept. 28
Wondrous Worlds
Dr. Paul Geissler, USGS
4 p.m. Lowell Observatory
Just light years away, elements in the universe are putting on a magnificent show! Experience it through the lens of the Hubble telescope.

Sunday, Sept. 30
Meteor Crater Open House
8 a.m. – 5p.m., I-40 east to Exit 233
A hole lotta science goin’ on at this enormous crater! See for yourself with a guided tour along a portion of the rim, or crash meteorites in an interactive display! If you are 12 years old or older, join in a rare opportunity to hike the entire rim. Make your reservation for this special whole-rim hike, 800-289-5898.

For more information and the complete calendar of events, visit the 2007 Flagstaff Festival of Science website.

Google the Heavens!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

hubble orion picture
Screenshot of detailed description of the Hubble Orion Nebula Image in Sky in Google Earth. Image credit: NASA, ESA, Digitized Sky Survey Consortium, and the STScI-Google Partnership.

Exploding stars and faraway galaxies are now just a mouse click away through Sky in Google Earth. The program is modeled after Google Earth, which allows you to tour our planet. With Sky in Google Earth, you can travel across the vastness of the night sky, making tour stops at all the popular Hubble images. Though these celestial objects are far away from Earth, you can reach them in a few seconds with Sky in Google Earth. This new, free, downloadable browser is produced by Google through a partnership with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Google: Sky in Google Earth Information and free download

NASA: Hubble Teams With Google to Bring the Cosmos Down to Earth

STScI Hubble: Hubble Teams With Google to Bring the Cosmos Down to Earth

STScI Hubble: Gallery

Mars Close Encounter?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Earth and Mars are converging, and right now the distance between the two planets is shrinking at a rate of 22,000 mph. Ultimately, this will lead to a close approach in late December 2007 when Mars will outshine every star in the night sky. Contrary to rumor, though, Mars is never going to outshine the Moon.

For more information, see the article NASA: Hurtling Towards Mars