Astrogeology Science Center

Science Fact or Fiction: does Kilauea skylight show a place of eternal unrest?

28 June 2018

Social media is gobbling up a photograph of a West Kamokuna lava skylight captured back in 1996 by Astrogeology Science Center Director and volcanologist, Dr. Laszlo Kestay. It isn’t just any skylight photo. Some have esteemed it the most interesting photo they have ever observed and even… Read More

Sols 2095-2096: Over the crest

27 June 2018

After a steep drive Sol 2094, Curiosity is back over the crest of Vera Rubin Ridge and enjoying the view of flatter terrain ahead.  I was the SOWG Chair on this late slide sol, which means that we started planning 3.5 hours later than usual. Everything was going smoothly and we were… Read More

Sols 2093-2094: Feeling powerful

25 June 2018

Today’s 2-sol plan kicked off with the good news that our power state exceeded predictions, so we were able to add in some extra science activities.  The first sol starts with several remote sensing activities to continue to monitor the ongoing dust storm.  Then the team… Read More

USGS New Director Visits Flagstaff Science Center

19 June 2018

USGS employees at the Flagstaff Science Center met their new leader, USGS director James Reilly II, in an All Hands meeting, today, at 2:00 pm.  President Donald Trump nominated Reilly and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by Voice Vote on April 9, 2018. Although some employees had met him… Read More

Sun-starved Opportunity in 'coma' waiting out the storm

14 June 2018

A massive Martian dust storm has prevented the solar-powered Opportunity rover from going about her daily work as robot field geologist. Dust blocking the sunlight is to blame, and the reason the Mars Explorer Rover is on hiatus. Much like a car needs gas to function, Opportunity needs the… Read More

Sol 2082: A New MAHLI Selfie

14 June 2018

The investigation of the Duluth drill hole is going well, and is expected to continue on Sol 2082.  First, MAHLI will take a picture of the drill tailings to look for an imprint of the APXS contact sensor, then will acquire another rover "selfie."  The major dust storm that caused… Read More

Flagstaff research geologist returns from Kilauea

31 May 2018

 Elise Rumpf, of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, politely poses for a photo just after returning from Hawaii, and minutes before an interview with KTVK 12 News. Find out first-hand what she was doing on the Big Island regarding the active Kilauea volcano with… Read More

Sol 2073: Another CheMin Analysis

5 June 2018

The focus of MSL operations continues to be on the analysis of the Duluth drill sample.  The latest SAM EGA was scheduled for the evening of Sol 2072, so the results of that analysis have not been received yet.  Both SAM and CheMin analyses require significant power, and can… Read More

Sols 2061-2062: Time to feed CheMin

23 May 2018

After successfully drilling the “Duluth” target on Sol 2057 (as seen in the above Mastcam image), the science team is eager to find out what it’s made of.  As SOWG Chair today, it was exciting to plan the drop-off of material to CheMin and overnight CheMin analysis. … Read More

Sol 2063-2066: Sample drop-off testing

25 May 2018

Some of the Duluth drill sample was dropped into CheMin on Sol 2061, but not enough for a proper mineralogical analysis. So the top priority for today's plan is to again test the new drop-off procedure. Since the drill feed mechanism became unreliable over a year ago, drill samples can no… Read More