On September 15, 2017, the Cassini spacecraft will be put to death. Scientists preplanned the spacecraft to crash into Saturn and Cassini will disintegrate in a burst of searing flame. Sadly, this will end its phenomenal journey of the exploration of the Saturn system. The demise of Cassini… Read More
During this past May, many of the world’s leading dune authorities met in St. George, Utah to attend the Fifth International Planetary Dunes Workshop. If you weren’t there--then you missed out on some fun. Scientists and students meet at this biannual workshop to engage in… Read More
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for thirteen craters on Ceres: Jumis, Sedana, Peko, Halki, Telepinu, Kaneki, Kokopelli, Emesh, Xevioso, Nunghui, Thrud, Jacheongbi, and Ratumaibulu. For more information, see the map of Ceres in the Gazetteer of Planetary… Read More
Oppenheimer crater, at 35.2°S, 166.3°W on the far side of the Moon, shows features such as cracks and low, dark-haloed volcanoes that suggest it must have lived an interesting young life to a ripe-old crater age. During its youth, I imagine it would rumble, swell, crack, hiss, blow smoke,… Read More
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for two features on Titan: Giedi Planitia and Tsiipiya Terra. For more information, see the map of Titan in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
Curiosity is now tantalizingly close to climbing up Vera Rubin Ridge. For the past several weeks we have been skirting around the ridge, documenting sedimentary structures and bedrock composition along the way as we work toward our intended ascent route. Today’s plan provided… Read More
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Annabelle for a crater on Venus. For more information, see Venus map V-41, in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
Monday, August 21, 2017, is drawing near when you can see the Moon completely cover the blazing sun, casting a shadow on Earth’s surface in a Total Solar Eclipse! This rare and spectacular view can be seen across the entire continent, although most people in the U.S., if not in the path of… Read More
MSL drove over 32 meters last weekend, to a sandy area with a few bedrock blocks, but ChemCam suffered an anomaly and was marked sick after the acquisition of the first RMI mosaic of Vera Rubin Ridge. The instrument is in a safe state and turned off, but no other ChemCam observations were… Read More
Sleeping giants, like the supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park, can reawaken even after many thousands of years have passed since their last eruption. Cataclysmic eruptions, like the one 630,000 years ago, could severely damage human infrastructure across half a continent and… Read More