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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.

PBS Arizona Stories: Apollo Astronaut Training

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

PBS is airing Arizona Stories: Apollo Astronaut Training Sunday, July 15, 2007. This documentary presents an overview of the USGS Astrogeology Research Program's involvement in training the Apollo astronauts in field geology techniques to help them acheive the science objectives of the lunar landing missions. From the transcript: "Beginning about 1964, the U.S.G.S. took Astronauts on geologic field trips to places like the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater southeast of Flagstaff . When astronauts were not available, geologists dressed up in spacesuits and simulated the work that would be done on the moon. Learning to relay geologic observations by radio was important because during actual moon landings, U.S.G.S. scientists were at mission control, keeping track of where astronauts were on the lunar surface." The documentary includes interviews with Gene Shoemaker and Gerald Schaber, and video footage of training site preparation and activities.

More: KAET/PBS Arizona Stories: Apollo Astronaut Training

More: KAET/PBS Arizona Stories program schedule

Link: USGS Astrogeology Research Program History

Link: USGS Astro - Astronaut Training and Equipment Testing Photo Gallery

Link: USGS Astro - The View From An Astronaut's Eyes Apollo Photo Gallery

Job Opening: Technical Information Specialist

Monday, July 2, 2007

Application Deadline: July 30, 2007 (note, the deadline has been extended from the original date of July 23, 2007)

The Astrogeology Team of the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona has openings for a full-time, permanent Technical Information Specialist (GS-1412) position at the GS-7 to -9 grade levels. The salary range for this position is $35,752.00 TO $56,849.00. The position will open on July 2, 2007 and close on July 23, 2007.

The incumbent will manage the Astrogeology Regional Planetary Information Facility (RPIF) on behalf of NASA and USGS. The RPIF is a planetary resource library and an archival repository for photographic and supplemental engineering data products. Major duties include but are not limited to: Incorporates new information and data into RFIF digital and hardcopy archives. Maintains digital catalogs and inventories. Oversees and manages archival historic and/or research materials. Generates inventories, catalogs, and digital image products for use in specific research efforts or for transfer to public information users. Assists planetary scientists in finding images, maps, and other data. Conducts general interest tours of RPIF and Astrogeology collections and facilities on a variety of planetary science topics. Provides technical or operational guidance to assistants. Assists senior staff with development and maintenance of long-range plans for future management and operation of the facility.

The Astrogeology Program of the USGS operates largely on funding from NASA.

The mission of Astrogeology is to establish and maintain geoscientific and technical expertise in planetary science and remote sensing to perform three major tasks:

  • Scientifically study and map Earth and extraterrestrial bodies,
  • Plan and conduct planetary exploration missions, and
  • Explore and develop new technologies in data processing and analysis, archiving, and distribution.

Please see our Web site ( for more information on the breadth of our research program.

To learn more about this opportunity and/or to apply go to the USGS online Online Automated Recruitment Site (OARS) at:

Look for announcement # WR-2007-0448 for all U.S. citizens or #WR-2007-0454 for specific eligibility as described within the announcement.

or visit USA-Jobs at:

Look for announcement # WR-2007-0448 for all U.S. citizens. USA-Jobs will direct applicants to the OARS site above as all must apply via the OARS system.

Applicants must apply online at the OARS site by the closing date of the announcement (midnight Eastern Time on July 23, 2007).

Contact Karen Perez for more information:

U.S. Geological Survey

Department of Interior

Office of Human Resources

3020 State University Drive East

Modoc Hall, Suite 2001

Sacramento, CA 95819

Attn: Karen Perez, 916-278-9389

Fax: 916-278-9401


March 8th -- NAU CENS Career Fair

Monday, February 12, 2007

On March 8th, we will be at the Northern Arizona University College of Engineering and Natural Sciences Career Fair in the Dubois Center on South campus. If you're interested in an internship with the Astrogeology Research Program, or would like more information about working for the USGS, stop by, and don't forget your resume!

More info: NAU CENS Spring 2007 Career Fair