Astrogeology

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The Astrogeology Science Center serves the nation, the international science community, and the general public in the pursuit of new knowledge about our Solar System. The program has participated in analyzing data from numerous missions to planetary bodies, mapping planets, moons, and asteroids, and researching these body’s geologic processes.

News

Date published: March 29, 2018

International Mapping Standards Updated for Planets throughout Solar System

Clarifying Latitude and Longitude for Planets besides Earth

Date published: January 12, 2018

3-D Structure of Buried Ice Sheets on Mars Revealed by High-Resolution Images

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. According to an in-depth analysis led by the USGS, the images reveal never-before-observed details about the ice sheets, including that some begin just a few feet below the Martian surface and extend to depths greater than 300 feet.  

Date published: November 20, 2017

Previous Evidence of Water on Mars Now Identified as Grainflows

Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new article published in Nature Geoscience by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Date published: October 19, 2018
Status: Archived

Moon Pyroclastic Volcanism Project

The products of explosive or pyroclastic volcanic eruptions on the Moon have intrigued lunar scientists for years. These deposits, nearly 100 in number and spread widely across the lunar surface, are generally dark and smooth-surfaced. Although pyroclastic materials were found in all lunar samples and thus they are known to be widely dispersed from their sources, the dark...

Date published: October 19, 2018
Status: Active

Revisiting Lava Flow Simple Models

Simple models relating the final dimensions of a lava flow to eruption parameters an lava rheology were used extensively in the 1980's but have fallen out of use in the terrestrial vocanology community. However, in the planetary volcanology community these models have had a resurgence of utilization, especially in response to the availability of high resolution topographic...

Date published: October 19, 2018
Status: Active

Conferences

International Planetary Caves Conference 

Date published: October 17, 2018
Status: Active

Lunar Kaguya Multiband Imager Mosaics

This page introduces the Kaguya Multiband Imager derived spectral and derived mineral maps by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Hawaii. The mosaics were created from topographically-corrected MI reflectance data acquired by the JAXA SELENE/Kaguya mission (see Ohtake et al., 2013) from the Kaguya Archive MI MAP processing level version 2 (MI...

Date published: October 17, 2018
Status: Active

Planetary Caves

As USGS scientist and planetary cave enthusiast, Glen Cushing, points out, "Caves are important to the future of planetary exploration because they are believed to provide shelter from a range of harsh surface conditions, maintaining near-pristine surfaces and relatively stable microclimates." See links on this page to explore further.

Date published: October 10, 2018
Status: Archived

Shoemaker Sample Collection

The USGS Shoemaker Collection consists of unique and irreplaceable geologic hand samples, rock powders, petrographic thin sections and billets, and associated documentation, from impact craters and terrestrial analog sites around the world. Current curation efforts are focused on data rescue, preservation, and inventory. All geologic materials are being relocated into...

Date published: October 3, 2018
Status: Completed

PDS Management Council Meeting 2018

The next face-to-face (F2F) PDS Management Council Meeting will be held Wednesday August 29th - Thursday August 30th, 2018. A separate small workshop on Tuesday the 28th will be supported by the Data Dictionary Working Group (DDWG) for the Local Data Dictionary (LDD) stewards. The F2F meeting will be on Wednesday-Thursday, August 29-30, 2018 at the Doubletree by...

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Completed

PDS Management Council Meeting 2016

The next PDS Management Council Meeting will be held Tuesday June 7th - Wednesday June 8th, 2016. All sessions will be held in Little America Hotel - Flagstaff located at 2515 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86004. The opening session will begin on Tuesday, June 7th at 8:30 a.m. in the Ponderosa room. For more information please refer to the hotels website at: ...

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

NASA Planetary Cartography Planning

This page provides information on the history of planetary cartography research and program planning for NASA. This has been a community-based effort driven by the need to develop and maintain a cartographic capability in support of NASA missions of space exploration. To comment or add to this page please contact Brent Archinal (barchinal@...

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Completed

Planetary Spatial Infrastructure LPSC 2016

Planetary Spatial Infrastructure: At the Intersection Of GIScience and Planetary Science

Wednesday March 23rd 2016, 1:30 PM Waterway Ballroom 4

Chairs: 

  • Samuel Lawrence
  • Daniella DellaGiustina
Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

LPSC 2013 Town Hall on Planetary Mapping and Cartography

What is planetary mapping? When do you need to do planetary mapping? How is planetary mapping accomplished? Why is planetary mapping important to you? Planetary mapping is literally foundational to planetary science and exploration. This town hall meeting is intended to present to the general planetary community the need to take planetary and lunar data and turn it into useful...

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

NASA/USGS Planetary Geologic Mapping Program

The Astrogeology Team at USGS provides coordination of NASA's planetary geologic mapping program. Geologic mapping investigations of any imaged planetary body (except Earth) are proposed to NASA's Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program on an annual basis (generally due sometime between late April and early June) and then...

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Date published: October 12, 2018

Astropedia Product Search

Search Astropedia for Products.

Date published: September 28, 2018

Map Projection On the Web

While some instrument teams provide science-ready versions of their data, many other archives must first be processed by the individual researcher. POW provides users with calibrated cartographic images that can be used for geologic mapping, analysis in a Geographic Image System (GIS), change detection, merging of dissimilar instrument images, and use in a host of other scientific applications...

Date published: September 21, 2018

Map a Planet 2

Welcome to the new Map-A-Planet 2

MAP2 allows users to select global image mosaics, which can then be map projected, clipped to extents, have algebra functions against the image bands, and then converted to the user’s desired file format. Quickly browse ALL available products

Date published: September 19, 2018

2015: The Year of the Dwarf Planets

Interactive web app that takes you through the history of Dwarf Planets in our Solar System from the 1700's to 2015.

Date published: September 10, 2018

Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature

Planetary nomenclature, like terrestrial nomenclature, is used to uniquely identify a feature on the surface of a planet or satellite so that the feature can be easily located, described, and discussed. This gazetteer contains detailed information about all names of topographic and albedo features on planets and satellites (and some planetary ring and ring-gap systems) that the ...

Date published: September 10, 2018

Planetary Image Locator Tool (PILOT)

PILOT (Planetary Image Locator Tool) is an online data portal used by planetary scientists and cartographers to search through the raw archives of the PDS Cartography and Imaging Science Node. It searches through a large catalog of visual, infrared and...

Date published: March 7, 2016

ISIS – The Integrated System for Imagers and Spectrometers

ISIS has many standard image processing operations such as contrast stretch, image algebra, filters, and statistical analysis. Isis operates on both classical two-dimensional images as well as three-dimensional cubes collected from imaging spectrometers. It also has unique capabilities for processing data from NASA spacecraft missions.

Date published: March 7, 2016

PILOT – The Planetary Image LOcator Tool

PILOT is a web based search tool for the Unified Planetary Coordinate (UPC) database of the Planetary Data System. PILOT features SPICE-corrected image locations and searching capabilities using a navigable map, user selectable image constraints, and facilitates bulk downloads and/or image processing using POW.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Astro Web Maps – Our Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS)

Astro Web Maps – Our Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS) are based on Open Geospatial Consortium standards and allow capable mapping clients to view full-resolution planetary mosaicked Basemaps. Services are available for community use and are critical for our Planetary Nomenclature, Planetary Geologic Mapping and PILOT sites

Date published: March 7, 2016

Map-a-Planet 2

Allows existing map-projected (derived) image products to be re-projected, stretched, clipped, and converted into a variety of useful formats. Version 2 allows us to quickly add new mosaics and potentially many other derived science products for conversion and download.

Date published: March 7, 2016

GDAL – The Geospatial Data Abstraction Library

GDAL is a translator library for raster geospatial data formats that is released under an X/MIT style Open Source license by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model for all supported formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing.

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Date published: September 28, 2018

Meteor Crater Sample Collection Interactive Map

Meteor Crater is a 180 m deep, 1.2 km diameter bowl-shaped impact crater in Northern Arizona, and has long been a terrestrial analog site for planetary exploration. During the 1960’s, Eugene Shoemaker trained NASA astronauts at the crater to prepare for the Apollo missions to the Moon. The Meteor Crater Sample Collection consists of geologic samples from the Meteor Crater ejecta blanket.

Date published: September 26, 2018

Planetary Geologic Mapping Program

The goals for this website are to catalog completed geologic maps and to help track the progress of currently funded maps. If you would like to propose for a mapping investigation, check the appropriate planetary body in the map index or refer to the various mapping pages (linked under Maps above) to see which geologic maps may have already been published or are currently in progress. 

Date published: September 24, 2018

RPIF I-Maps and SIM-Maps

The Astrogeology RPIF maintains and distributes a stock of some 60,000 lunar and planetary maps generated since about 1960. The approximately 900 individual maps published since 1961 in the USGS lunar and planetary I-Map/SIM-map series are listed in an Excel spreadsheet (below). Many of these maps are available in hardcopy form at no cost to the requestor. 

I-Map Database (xls) 230 kB

Date published: August 22, 2018

Flynn Creek Crater Sample Collection Interactive Map

Flynn Creek crater is a 3.8 km diameter, 360-million-year-old impact structure located in north central Tennessee, and is an invaluable terrestrial analog for the study of impact cratering dynamics. The Flynn Creek Crater Sample Collection consists of over two thousand boxes of drill core from 18 drill holes in the crater’s central uplift, floor, and rim. 

Date published: March 7, 2016

Planetary Geologic Mapping Program

The Planetary Geologic Mapping Program serves the international science community through the production of high-quality and refereed geologic maps of planetary bodies. This program is in coordination between NASA science programs and the USGS Astrogeology Science Center.

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Year Published: 2018

Complex bedding geometry in the upper portion of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars

The Upper formation of Aeolis Mons in Gale crater exhibits curvilinear bedding patterns on the surfaces of several erosional benches that have been interpreted as cross-bedding. We use High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) stereo topography to test this hypothesis by measuring the bedding geometry within these benches. The bedding...

Anderson, Ryan; Edgar, Lauren; Rubin, David M.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Newman, Claire
Anderson, R.B., Edgar, L.A., Rubin, D.M., Lewis, K.W., Newman, C., 2018. Complex bedding geometry in the upper portion of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars. Icarus 314, 246–264. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2018.06.009

Year Published: 2018

A novel technique for precision geometric correction of jitter distortion for the Europa Imaging System and other rolling shutter cameras

We use simulated images to demonstrate a novel technique for mitigating geometric distortions caused by platform motion (“jitter”) as two-dimensional image sensors are exposed and read out line by line (“rolling shutter”). The results indicate that the Europa Imaging System (EIS) on NASA’s Europa Clipper can likely meet its scientific goals...

Kirk, Randolph L.; Shepherd, Makayla; Sides, Stuart
International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing, and Spatial Information Sciences, XLII-3, 735–739.

Year Published: 2018

The thermophysical properties of the Bagnold Dunes, Mars: Ground truthing orbital data

We compare the thermophysical properties and particle sizes derived from the Mars Science Laboratory rover's Ground Temperature Sensor of the Bagnold dunes, specifically Namib dune, to those derived orbitally from Thermal Emission Imaging System, ultimately linking these measurements to ground truth particle sizes determined from Mars Hand Lens...

Edwards, Christopher S.; Piqueux, Sylvain; Hamilton, Victoria E.; Fergason, Robin L.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Bennett, Kristen A.; Sacks, Leah; Lewis, Kevin; Smith, Michael D.

Year Published: 2018

Measuring impact crater depth throughout the solar system

One important, almost ubiquitous, tool for understanding the surfaces of solid bodies throughout the solar system is the study of impact craters. While measuring a distribution of crater diameters and locations is an important tool for a wide variety of studies, so too is measuring a crater's “depth.” Depth can inform numerous studies including...

Robbins, Stuart J.; Watters, Wesley A.; Chappelow, John E.; Bray, Veronica J.; Daubar, Ingrid J.; Craddock, Robert A.; Beyer, Ross A.; Landis, Margaret E.; Ostrach, Lillian; Tornabene, Livio L.; Riggs, Jamie D.; Weaver, Brian P.
Robbins, S.J. et al., 2018. Measuring impact crater depth throughout the solar system. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 53(4), 583-626.

Year Published: 2018

Ancient Martian aeolian processes and palaeomorphology reconstructed from the Stimson formation on the lower slope of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars

Reconstruction of the palaeoenvironmental context of Martian sedimentary rocks is central to studies of ancient Martian habitability and regional palaeoclimate history. This paper reports the analysis of a distinct aeolian deposit preserved in Gale crater, Mars, and evaluates its palaeomorphology, the processes responsible for its deposition, and...

Banham, Steve G.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Rubin, David M.; Watkins, Jessica A.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Grotzinger, John P.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Edgar, Lauren; Stack, Kathryn M.; Barnes, Robert; Bell, Jame F. III; Day, Mackenzie D.; Ewing, Ryan C.; Lapotre, Mathieu G.A.; Stein, Nathan T.; Rivera-Hernandez, Frances; Vasavada, Ashwin R.
Banham, S. G., Gupta, S., Rubin, D. M., Watkins, J. A., Sumner, D. Y., Edgett, K. S., Grotzinger, J. P., Lewis, K. W., Edgar, L. A., Stack-Morgan, K. M., Barnes, R., Bell, J. F., Day, M. D., Ewing, R. C., Lapotre, M. G.A., Stein, N. T., Rivera-Hernandez, F. and Vasavada, A. R. (2018), Ancient Martian aeolian processes and palaeomorphology reconstructed from the Stimson formation on the lower slope of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars. Sedimentology. https://doi.org/10.1111/sed.12469

Year Published: 2018

Relaxed impact craters on Ganymede: Regional variation and high heat flows

Viscously relaxed craters provide a window into the thermal history of Ganymede, a satellite with copious geologic signs of past high heat flows. Here we present measurements of relaxed craters in four regions for which suitable imaging exists: near Anshar Sulcus, Tiamat Sulcus, northern Marius Regio, and Ganymede's south pole. We describe a...

Singer, Kelsi N.; Bland, Michael T.; Schenk, Paul M.; McKinnon, William B.
Sing, K. N., Bland, M. T., Schenk, P. M., McKinnon, W. B., 2018. Relaxed impact craters on Ganymede: Regional variation and high heat flows. Icarus 306, 214-224.

Year Published: 2018

Geologic map of the Nepenthes Planum Region, Mars

This map product contains a map sheet at 1:1,506,000 scale that shows the geology of the Nepenthes Planum region of Mars, which is located between the cratered highlands that dominate the southern hemisphere and the less-cratered sedimentary plains that dominate the northern hemisphere.  The map region contains cone- and mound-shaped...

Skinner, James A.; Tanaka, Kenneth L.
Skinner, J.A., Jr., and Tanaka, K.L., 2018, Geologic map of the Nepenthes Planum Region, Mars: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3389, pamphlet 11 p., scale 1:1,506,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3389.

Year Published: 2018

Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes

Thick deposits cover broad regions of the Martian mid-latitudes with a smooth mantle; erosion in these regions creates scarps that expose the internal structure of the mantle.We investigated eight of these locations and found that they expose deposits of water ice that can be >100 meters thick, extending downward from depths as shallow as 1 to...

Dundas, Colin M.; Bramson, Ali M; Ojha, Lujendra; Wray, James J.; Mellon, Michael T.; Byrne, Shane; McEwen, Alfred S.; Putzig, N. E.; Viola, Donna; Sutton, Sarah; Clark, E.; Holt, J.W.
Dundas, C. M., et al. (2018). Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes. Science, 359, 199-201, doi:10.1126/science.aao1619.

Year Published: 2018

Image simulation and assessment of the colour and spatial capabilities of the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

This study aims to assess the spatial and visible/near-infrared (VNIR) colour/spectral capabilities of the 4-band Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) aboard the ExoMars 2016 Trace Grace Orbiter (TGO). The instrument response functions for the CaSSIS imager was used to resample spectral libraries, modelled spectra and to construct...

Tornabene, Livio L.; Seelos, Frank P.; Pommerol, Antoine; Thomas, Nicolas; Caudill, Christy M.; Becerra, Patricio; Bridges, John C.; Byrne, Shane; Cardinale, Marco; Chojnacki, Matthew; Conway, Susan J.; Cremonese, Gabriele; Dundas, Colin M.; El-Maarry, M. R.; Fernando, Jennifer; Hansen, Candice J.; Hansen, Kayle; Harrison, Tanya N.; Henson, Rachel; Marinangeli, Lucia; McEwen, Alfred S.; Pajola, Maurizio; Sutton, Sarah S.; Wray, James J.
Tornabene, L. L., et al., 2018. Image Simulation and Assessment of the Colour and Spatial Capabilities of the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. Space Science Reviews, 214, doi:10.1007/s11214-017-0436-7.

Year Published: 2018

Morphological indicators of a mascon beneath Ceres' largest crater, Kerwan

Gravity data of Ceres returned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Dawn spacecraft is consistent with a lower density crust of variable thickness overlying a higher density mantle. Crustal thickness variations can affect the long‐term, postimpact modification of impact craters on Ceres. Here we show that the unusual morphology...

Bland, Michael T.; Ermakov, Anton; Raymond, Carol A.; Williams, David A.; Bowling, Tim J.; Preusker, F.; Park, Ryan S.; Marchi, Simone; Castillo-Rogez, Julie C.; Fu, R.R.; Russell, Christopher T.
Bland, M. T., Ermakov, A. I., Raymond, C. A., Williams, D. A., Bowling, T. J., Preusker, F., … Russell, C. T. (2018). Morphological indicators of a mascon beneath Ceres’s largest crater, Kerwan. Geophysical Research Letters, 45, 1297–1304. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075526

Year Published: 2018

Planetary dune workshop expands to include subaqueous processes

Dune-like structures appear in the depths of Earth’s oceans, across its landscapes, and in the extremities of the solar system beyond. Dunes rise up under the thick dense atmosphere of Venus, and they have been found under the almost unimaginably ephemeral atmosphere of a comet.

Titus, Timothy N.; Bryant, Gerald; Rubin, David M.
Titus, T., D. M. Rubin, and G. Bryant (2018), Planetary dune workshop expands to include subaqueous processes, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO092783. Published on 15 February 2018.

Year Published: 2018

Revised recommended methods for analyzing crater size-frequency distributions

Impact crater populations crucially help us to understand solar system dynamics, planetary surface histories, and surface modification processes. A single previous effort to standardize how crater data are displayed in graphs, tables, and archives, was in a 1978 NASA report by the Crater Analysis Techniques Working Group, published in 1979 in...

Robbins, Stuart J.; Riggs, Jamie D.; Weaver, Brian P.; Bierhaus, Edward B.; Chapman, Clark R.; Kirchoff, Michelle R.; Singer, Kelsi N.; Gaddis, Lisa
Robbins, S.J., J.D. Riggs, B.P. Weaver, E.B. Bierhaus, C.R. Chapman, M.R. Kirchoff, K.N. Singer and L.R. Gaddis, 2018, Revised Recommended Methods for Analyzing Crater Size-Frequency Distributions, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 53, Nr 4, 891-931.

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Date published: September 10, 2018

Integrated Software for Imagers and Spectrometers (ISIS)

This is the home page for ISIS, a digital image processing software package. The focus of the software is to manipulate imagery collected by current and past NASA and International planetary missions sent throughout our Solar System.

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RPIF Logo
December 31, 2018

Regional Planetary Image Facility Logo

Logo for the Regional Planetary Image Facility.

David Scott(right) and James Irwin(left) in the Lunar Roving Vehicle trainer
September 5, 2018

David Scott and James Irwin in the Lunar Roving Vehicle "Grover"

In preperation for Apollo 15, David Scott and James Irwin trained with a training version of the Lunar Rover known as the "Grover". Apollo 15 was the first mission to bring a rover. This allowed the astronauts to cover a larger distance and explore a larger area. 

Pink Sand Dunes in Utah
February 27, 2018

Pink Dune

This is a photo of a pink sand dune in Utah.

Broad view of an icy scarp on Mars
December 31, 2017

Broad view of an icy scarp on Mars

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. 

This NASA HiRISE image shows an icy scarp on Mars in the context of a broader area. 

Detailed subsection of an icy scarp on Mars
December 31, 2017

Detailed subsection of an icy scarp on Mars

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. 

This high-resolution NASA HiRISE image shows a detailed subsection of an icy scarp on Mars in enhanced color. 

December 17, 2017

USGS Astrogeology Geologic Map GIS Template

Review of all elements included in the GIS template provided to NASA-funded mappers producing USGS SIM-series planetary geologic maps.

November 30, 2017

Tour of the Planetary Geologic Mapping Python Toolbox

A tour of the Planetary Geologic Mapping Python toolbox, a suite of GIS tools from the Astrogeology Science Center.
 

October 20, 2017

Introduction to GIS Data for ArcMap 10.1 and Higher

An introduction to GIS data using ArcMap 10.1 and higher; intended for planetary geologic mappers. 
 

August 31, 2017

2017 August Evening Public Lecture — Roving on Mars

Roving on Mars: Curiosity's exploration of Gale Crater

* Overview of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission
* Highlights from 5 years of exploring sedimentary environments
* Preview of next steps in Curiosity's climb up Aeolis Mons

Pluto Global Mosaic from New Horizons
July 1, 2017

Pluto Global Mosaic from New Horizons July 2017

On July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its historic flight through the Pluto system. This detailed, high-quality global mosaic of Pluto was assembled from nearly all of the highest-resolution images obtained by the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) on New Horizons.

The mosaic is the most

...
May 31, 2017

New USGS Maps of Mars Reveal Ancient Oases

Flyover of the southeast Ceti Mensa map. Distinct groups of rock layers, called geologic units, are shaded in different colors, with dark browns representing the oldest rocks and green representing the youngest rocks. All of these rocks formed as wind-blown sand that became trapped in shallow, ephemeral lakes, similar to the wet playas of the desert southwest US. The

...
May 5, 2016

First Global Topographic Map of Mercury

An animation of the USGS topographic map of Mercury created using images from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft.

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Date published: March 29, 2018

International Mapping Standards Updated for Planets throughout Solar System

Clarifying Latitude and Longitude for Planets besides Earth

Date published: January 12, 2018

3-D Structure of Buried Ice Sheets on Mars Revealed by High-Resolution Images

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. According to an in-depth analysis led by the USGS, the images reveal never-before-observed details about the ice sheets, including that some begin just a few feet below the Martian surface and extend to depths greater than 300 feet.  

Date published: November 20, 2017

Previous Evidence of Water on Mars Now Identified as Grainflows

Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new article published in Nature Geoscience by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: July 3, 2017

Guiding Rovers for Safe Mars Exploration

Billions of dollars and a decade worth of research are on the line in the instant that a spacecraft touches down on Mars. When deciding where to land on the planet’s rocky surface, it is essential to analyze potential landing sites and their surface characteristics.

Date published: May 12, 2017

New USGS Maps of Mars Reveal Ancient Oases

A new set of high-resolution geologic maps reveal complex geologic processes that suggest a dynamic, wet environment once existed on early Mars, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: October 20, 2016

Water Detected on Largest Metallic Asteroid in Solar System

Scientists have discovered possible evidence for water-rich minerals on the surface of the largest metallic asteroid in the solar system, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA. 

Date published: May 27, 2016

New Global Geologic Map of Mars

A new global geologic map of Mars –the most thorough representation of the "Red Planet's" surface – has been published by the U.S. Geological Survey. This map provides a framework for continued scientific investigation of Mars as the long-range target for human space exploration.

Attribution: Astrogeology
Date published: May 19, 2016

Understanding How Jupiter’s Volcanic Moon Creates Mountains

Mountains on Io, Jupiter’s volcanic moon, are formed by a unique geologic mechanism not found elsewhere in the solar system, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: May 6, 2016

First Global Topographic Map of Mercury Released

The first topographic map of Mercury was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey, Arizona State University, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA.

Date published: December 12, 2014

New USGS Map of Mars is Most Detailed One Yet

The U.S. Geological Survey released its highest-resolution geologic map of Mars today, and it is the most detailed representation of the Red Planet to date