Astrogeology Field Notes

Release Date:

Highlights of our February happenings.



February 14, 2020

New Work:

Research scientist, Laszlo Kestay, is the Deputy Principal Investigator on the Io Volcano Observer mission proposal, which was short-listed for a 9-month study for possible selection into NASA’s Discovery Program. USGS Astrogeology would be involved in the science, cartography, geodesy, and data archiving of this proposed NASA mission.


February 18-21, 2020


Research scientists Tim Titus, Glen Cushing, Chris Okubo, and Kaj Williams contributed to the 3rd international Planetary Caves Conference in San Antonio, TX. Tim gave 2 presentations, co-chaired a session entitled, “Pit Crater Chain Formation,” and was a panelist for a Decadal Whitepaper Workshop entitled, “Exploration of the Martian Subsurface through Lava Tubes and Pit Craters Chains.” In addition, these scientists contributed to the following abstracts and presentations:


  • Titus, T.N., Williams, K.E., Cushing, G.E., and Okubo, C.H. (2020) Cave Breathing in a Terrestrial Analog Atypical Pit Crater - Insolation Induced Convective Cooling. 3rd International Planetary Caves 2020 (LPI Contrib. 2197, #1041).
  • Phillips-Lander, C.M., Wynne J.J., Parness, A., Uckert, K., Chanover, N., Titus, T.N., Williams, K., Demirel-Floyd, C., Eshelman, E., Stockton, A., Johnson, S., and Wyrick, D., (2020) Science Returns Expected from MACIE: Mars Astrobiological Caves and Internal Habitability Explorer (A New Frontiers Mission Concept). 3rd International Planetary Caves 2020 (LPI Contrib. 2197, #1042).
  • Wynne, J.J., Phillips-Lander, C.M., and Titus, T.N. (2020) Proposed Mission Architecture and Technology Requirements for Robotic and Human Exploration of Martian Caves. 3rd International Planetary Caves 2020 (LPI Contrib. 2197, #1043).
  • Prettyman, T.H., Titus, T.N., Cushing, G.E., Okubo, C.H., Sankey, J.B., Williams, K.E., Caster, J., Boston, P.J., Schorghofer, N., and Spilde, M.N. (2020) Muon Overburden Gauge for Planetary Analog Studies of Cave Ice Stability. 3rd International Planetary Caves 2020 (LPI Contrib. 2197, #1044).


February 11-13, 2020

Research scientist Kristen Bennett attended the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner Lunar Radiometer team meeting in Orlando, Florida. As a Co-I for the Diviner instrument that is currently orbiting the Moon, Bennett presented her recent work on investigating the composition of explosive volcanic deposits on the Moon.


February 18-20, 2020

Research scientists Kristen Bennett and Patricia Garcia gave three Bystander Intervention workshops at NASA Johnson Space Center. The Bystander Intervention program is an employee empowerment and anti-harassment program designed specifically for the scientific workplace, including offices, scientific conferences, and the field, developed by scientists at the USGS and NASA.



February 20, 2020

Research scientist Greg Vaughan participated in the Skype-A-Scientist program, speaking and answering questions about volcanoes via live video conference with 8th grade classes at Amanda Clearcreek Middle School, Amanda, OH.


February 21, 2020

Research scientist Jason Laura gave an in-school presentation to a group of 20 first graders at DeMiguel Elementary School in Flagstaff, AZ. The students learned about the work we do in Astrogeology, the Curiosity Rover, and made a mosaic of Enceladus using 12 NASA images.


February 26, 2020


Research scientist Greg Vaughan gave a tour of Astrogeology to a group of visiting astronomers working with Lowell Observatory.