Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 2113: Hard as a rock

16 July 2018

Unfortunately, we found out this morning that the “Voyageurs” drill target was a much harder rock than expected.  While our drill plan executed perfectly, our bit stopped short of the full depth we need for sampling.  The engineers are still evaluating the data to better… Read More

Sols 2110-2112: Let the drill fest begin!

13 July 2018

Drilling on another planet is no easy feat, and each time we have the opportunity to do so on Mars feels pretty special.  The focus of the weekend three-sol plan is to drill the target “Voyageurs,” which is part of an outcrop that shows a high hematite signature in orbital… Read More

Happy July 4th and 1997 throwback!

3 July 2018

Twenty-one years ago Mars Pathfinder landed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station along with a wheeled robotic rover named Sojourner in Ares Vallis, on Mars, on July fourth of 1997. The mission was launched on December 4, 1996 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Transmissions ceased from… Read More

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