Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Arizona's role in going 'back to the moon'

I had a chance to drop into the USGS Astrogeology branch in Flagstaff this afternoon. Chief Scientist Jeff Johnson gave me a quick overview of large array of planetary exploration missions their group is working on with NASA, including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which is scheduled to launch this October. Three planetary scientists from Flagstaff are working with ASU on the science team - pretty rare to have that many from one group on a mission. [right: Shoemaker Building, home of the USGS Astrogeology branch, named after Eugene Shoemaker, legendary planetary geologist]

One of the highlights of the tour was working with 20-cm resolution digital 3-D imagery from Mars. Its' only semi-jokingly referred to as the Mars spy satellite data.

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