The science and journalism teams make their way across the ropey, twisted, broken crust of the 1978 lava flow. These patterns formed as flowing lava exposed at the surface cooled and solidified, while hot lava continued to flow beneath. The dark cloud in the distance is the active volcanic plume.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Andrea Jones
In June, five student journalists from Stony Brook University packed their hiking boots and hydration packs and joined a NASA-funded science team for 10 days on the lava fields of Kilauea, an active Hawaiian volcano. Kilauea’s lava fields are an ideal place to test equipment designed for use on Earth’s moon or Mars, because volcanic activity shaped so much of those terrains. The trip was part of an interdisciplinary program called RIS4E – short for Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration – which is designed to prepare for future exploration of the moon, near-Earth asteroids and the moons of Mars.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.