Astrogeology Science Center

Infrared image of Gale Crater, landing site of the Mars Science Laboratory
Infrared image of Gale Crater, landing site of the Mars Science Laboratory
360-degree panorama in color of the Gale Crater landing site taken by NASA's Curiosity rover
360-degree panorama in color of the Gale Crater landing site taken by NASA's Curiosity rover
USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff working as the SOWG Chair for the MSL Mission
USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff working as the SOWG Chair for the MSL Mission

The USGS is excited to watch the progress of the rover Curiosity, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). USGS scientist and cartographer, Ken Tanaka participated on the landing-site selection committee. Other members of the team including Randy Kirk and Robin Fergason, helped map Gale Crater, the selected landing site for the new rover. Many team members are interested in MSL's mission to collect Martian soil and rock samples, and analyze them for organic compounds, looking for environmental conditions that could have supported microbial life now or in the past. In addition to our cartography duties, USGS Scientist, Ken Herkenhoff, is a Co-Investigator on the MSL ChemCam and cameras team.  He and USGS Postdoctoral Fellow, Ryan Anderson, are heavily involved in mission operations, helping to analyze MSL data and decide what the rover should do each day.