Astrogeology Science Center

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

Sols 2049-2051: Onward and northward

11 May 2018

Curiosity is currently investigating the Blunts Point member of the Murray formation, and searching for a suitable location to drill in the near future.  I was the SOWG Chair today, and we put together a busy weekend plan focused on wrapping up contact science at our current location and… Read More

Sol 2048: Successful Bump

10 May 2018

Today is the third and final day that I'm serving as SOWG Chair this week at JPL, and I was happy to see that the bump we originally planned for Sol 2046 completed successfully on Sol 2047, placing the rover in a good position for contact science on a couple of bright blocks in front of the… Read More

Create High Quality DTMs

8 May 2018

A digital terrain model (DTM) is a digital representation of the elevation of a planetary surface. Members of the Astrogeology Team produce DTMs of different bodies in the solar system to address questions about how landscapes formed or changed over time, and to identify safe landing sites for… Read More

InSight Mars Lander to Launch on May 5

4 May 2018

NASA’s InSight Mars Lander is scheduled to launch on May 5 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and expected to land on Mars, Nov. 26, north of the Martian equator. In just five months, InSight, Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will… Read More