The USGS Astrogeology Science Center is directly involved in all current and planned National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA) missions to Mars. This involvement includes developing and testing several future instruments, operating active spacecraft, conducting science research, and archiving historical data. In 2015, the primary activity focused on the Mars Science Laboratory mission's Curiosity rover and the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. With spacecraft in orbit and on the ground operating at the same time, coordinating activities is a major challenge. USGS is deeply involved in all aspects of this exploration.
Self-portrait of the Curiosity rover in Gale Crater, Mars. The scientific investigation of this part of Mars combines information from orbital assets and rover observations.