Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 1795: Skirting around Vera Rubin Ridge

23 August 2017

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

Name Approved for Crater on Venus

23 August 2017

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.

Upcoming Full Solar Eclipse in the U.S.

18 August 2017

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

Sol 1786: ChemCam anomaly

14 August 2017

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

Watching a Sleeping Giant

14 August 2017

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

Twelve Names Approved for Ceres

12 August 2017

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for twelve craters on Ceres: Mlezi, Cachimana, Binayo, Bilwis, Dikhan, Zatik, Enkimdu, Damia, Shennong, Axomama, Inkosazana, and Kahukura. For more information, see the map of Ceres in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.

Fourteen New Lacus Names Approved for Titan

8 August 2017

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for fourteen features on Titan: Zub Lacus, Grasmere Lacus, Hlawga Lacus, Fogo Lacus , Letas Lacus, Balaton Lacus, Xolotlan Lacus, Karakul Lacus, Akmena Lacus, Brienz Lacus, Trichonida Lacus, Qinghai Lacus, Synevyr Lacus, and… Read More

Astrogeology Services No One Told You About

4 August 2017

The USGS Astrogeology Science Center (often called Astro) performs research as well as maintains and provides technical expertise in the planetary sciences. One of their legacies is that Astro was involved with the Apollo astronauts' training in preparation to go to the Moon and they have their… Read More

Sol 1777: Easing back into mission planning

4 August 2017

As the solar conjunction stand-down comes to an end, we are easing back into operations planning, focusing on Sol 1780, which will be planned in detail on Monday.  There was no SOWG meeting today, so it was a very easy day for me as SOWG Chair:  We discussed plans for next week and… Read More

Names Approved for Three Craters on Mercury: Anguissola, Anyte, and Vonnegut

4 August 2017

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the names Anguissola, Anyte, and Vonnegut for three craters on Mercury. For more information, see Mercury map H-1 in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.