Geology: Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration

Conversation Date: 
Friday, March 27, 2015
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PDT (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT)

Overview: NASA's FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science & Exploration) team conducts Science and Exploration fieldwork on Earth.  FINESSE is a part of NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).  FINESSE focuses on understanding volcanics and impacts as primary geologic processes that alter the surface of the Moon, asteroids, and other planetary bodies.  We conduct fieldwork at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho, USA, and at the West Clearwater Impact Structure in northern Canada.  We also investigate the most effective methods for both humans and robots to conduct scientific field investigations on other planetary surfaces.  Today we will discuss the Science and Exploration research, and also focus on our education and public outreach activities, with special emphasis on how teachers and students can get involved with the exciting FINESSE project.

Dr. Jennifer Heldmann is a Research Scientist in the Division of Space Science and Astrobiology at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. Her primary research focuses on studying volatile deposits on the Moon (and Mars) as well as understanding planetary geomorphology as an indicator of geologic processes working to shape the surfaces and interiors of planets. She is also keenly interested in human and robotic Solar System exploration and conducts research and fieldwork to optimize exploration strategies and architectures. Heldmann has spent the past several decades conducting research using spacecraft data, numerical modeling, and terrestrial analog fieldwork. She has worked in analog environments such as the Outback of Australia, the Canadian High Arctic, Chile's Atacama Desert, Spitsbergen in Norway, California's Mojave Desert, and Antarctica, among other locales. Recent projects include  2012 In-situ Resource Utlilization (ISRU) Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatiles Extraction (RESOLVE) field test, and the Mojave Volatiles Prospector (MVP) field program (2013-2014). Through this work, she actively participates in research and field campaigns to enable human and robotic exploration of the Solar System with tasks such as working in science operations backrooms, serving as science lead for tactical and strategic science planning for human and robotic missions, assisting in the development of mission concepts and concepts of operations (conops) for multiple analog field campaigns, and conducting basic scientific research.

Andrea Jones is an Education Specialist at the Planetary Science Institute, based out of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. She conducts education and public outreach (E/PO) activities for NASA Earth and planetary science missions and programs. Jones is the E/PO Lead for NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) FINESSE and the Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration (RIS4E) teams. She is a member of the SSERVI Dynamic Response of Environments at Asteroids, the Moon, and moons of Mars (DREAM2) E/PO team. Jones is the E/PO Lead for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and E/PO co-Lead for the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument team of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. She is the Informal Education Lead for the NASA Earth Science E/PO Forum, and represents both the NASA Earth and Planetary Science E/PO Forums on a Diversity Task Force. Andrea Jones received her undergraduate degree in Geology from the College of William & Mary, and a Masters degree in Geosciences, with a focus in planetary geology, from the University of Arizona.


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Recording Files:
Audio file (12.6 MB)
Transcript File:
Transcript (108 KB)
Presentation File: