Astrogeology Science Center


Serving the nation, the international science community, planetary scientists and the general public in the pursuit of new knowledge about our Solar System.


Glossary of Terms


Date published: September 22, 2021

Liftoff of Landsat 9: The Next Earth Watcher

Is watching the launch of a Landsat satellite on your bucket-list of things to do? If so, NASA has invited the public to be a virtual guest at the Landsat 9 satellite launch, coming up in September 2021.  

Date published: August 27, 2021

Curiosity Blog | Sol 3219-3220: Almost There

If all goes according to today’s plan, we should end up about 7 meters from our next drill location. We’ve noticed a change in the texture of the rocks over the last few drives, so we are eagerly collecting data as we approach the drill site to help understand what caused the change. 

Date published: August 26, 2021

Remembering Carolyn S. Shoemaker (1929–2021)

The USGS Astrogeology family is grieving the loss of Carolyn Shoemaker, who died on August 13 at the age of 92. Shoemaker was a world-renowned astronomer who discovered or co-discovered 377 asteroids/numbered minor planets and 32 comets, including the co-discovery of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which broke apart and crashed into Jupiter in 1994.


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Year Published: 2021

Advancing cave detection using terrain analysis and thermal imagery

Since the initial experiments nearly 50 years ago, techniques for detecting caves using airborne and spacecraft acquired thermal imagery have improved markedly. These advances are largely due to a combination of higher instrument sensitivity, modern computing systems, and processor-intensive analytical techniques. Through applying these...

Wynne, J. Judson; Jenness, Jeff; Sonderegger, Derek; Titus, Timothy N.; Jhabvala, Murzy D.; Cabrol, Nathalie A.

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Year Published: 2021

Geologic map of Olympus Mons caldera, Mars

The Mars volcano, Olympus Mons, is probably the best known extraterrestrial volcano. The summit forms a nested caldera with six overlapping collapse pits that collectively measure ~65 x ~80 kilometers (km). Numerous wrinkle ridges and graben occur on the caldera floor, and topographic data indicate >1.2 km of elevation change since the...

Mouginis-Mark, Peter J.
Mouginis-Mark, P.J., 2021, Geologic map of Olympus Mons caldera, Mars: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3470, 6 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:200,000,

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Year Published: 2021

A geologic field guide to S P Mountain and its lava flow, San Francisco Volcanic Field, Arizona

IntroductionWe created this guide to introduce the user to the San Francisco Volcanic Field as a terrestrial analog site for planetary volcanic processes. For decades, the San Francisco Volcanic Field has been used to teach scientists to recognize the products of common types of volcanic eruptions and associated volcanic features. The volcanic...

Gullikson, Amber L.; Rumpf, M. Elise; Edgar, Lauren A.; Keszthelyi, Laszlo P.; Skinner, James A.; Thompson, Lisa
Gullikson, A.L., Rumpf, M.E., Edgar, L.A., Keszthelyi, L.P., Skinner, J.A., Jr., and Thompson, L., 2021, A geologic field guide to S P Mountain and its lava flow, San Francisco Volcanic Field, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1072, 37 p.,