NASA’S PLANETARY GEOLOGIC MAPPING PROGRAM: OVERVIEW
Keywords: Planetary Cartography, Geologic Mapping, NASA Missions
Abstract. NASA’s Planetary Science Division supports the geologic mapping of planetary surfaces through a distinct organizational structure and a series of research and analysis (R&A) funding programs. Cartography and geologic mapping issues for NASA’s planetary science programs are overseen by the Mapping and Planetary Spatial Infrastructure Team (MAPSIT), which is an assessment group for cartography similar to the Mars Exploration Program Assessment Group (MEPAG) for Mars exploration. MAPSIT’s Steering Committee includes specialists in geological mapping, who make up the Geologic Mapping Subcommittee (GEMS). I am the GEMS Chair, and with a group of 3-4 community mappers we advise the U.S. Geological Survey Planetary Geologic Mapping Coordinator (Dr. James Skinner) and develop policy and procedures to aid the planetary geologic mapping community. GEMS meets twice a year, at the Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March, and at the Annual Planetary Mappers’ Meeting in June (attendance is required by all NASA-funded geologic mappers). Funding programs under NASA’s current R&A structure to propose geological mapping projects include Mars Data Analysis (Mars), Lunar Data Analysis (Moon), Discovery Data Analysis (Mercury, Vesta, Ceres), Cassini Data Analysis (Saturn moons), Solar System Workings (Venus or Jupiter moons), and the Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration, and Tools (PDART) program. Current NASA policy requires all funded geologic mapping projects to be done digitally using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. In this presentation we will discuss details on how geologic mapping is done consistent with current NASA policy and USGS guidelines.