Author Archives: sscheidt77

RISE2 Field Campaign Kilbourne Hole, NM 2022

RISE2 Field Campaign to Kilbourne Hole, NM 2021

Field Campaign in Iceland 2021

Capturing Aerial Images from UAVs in Iceland 2019

Science, Art and Engineering

My main function: analyze geospatial data on the computer. The data show images looking down at Earth and Mars and are interesting to look at: lava flows, sand dunes, river channels, mountains. These are valuable to science, but the patterns and abstractness have artistic value. Many people recognize this and celebrate this by contributing to The Art of Planetary Science Exhibition in Tucson, AZ. There were many submissions from almost a hundred artists, and I’m happy to be one this year in 2018. I carved a HiRISE DTM, my first completed 3D carve of topography. I’m happy with the way it turned out!

Description of Piece: A place on Mars in miniature Fissure and Channel Southeast of Olympus Mons. Carved by a homemade computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine; surface tone painted by hand. Image data were provided by The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera in orbit around Mars, which were processed into a digital terrain model by the HiRISE Science Team.

RIS4E Field Campaign Aden Volcanic Field, NM 2017

Iceland Field Campaign 2016

I have to admit: Flying an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) such as the Trimble UX5-HP is a lot easier than flying a kite over lava flows. We covered several square kilometers in no time with this bird! There were two location: the south of Iceland (the Laki lava flow) and in the north of Iceland (the Holuhraun lava flow). We worked with a great group of students in the field participating in the Keck Geology Consortium. They helped us run our mobile UAV airport! I’ll post more details about our field work and the student projects soon. For now, here are a few images of us doing our volcanological mapping. The data will result in orthoimage data at 1-4 cm per pixel, and digital terrain models at 10 cm per pixel!

Artistic Portraits of Earth

Tucson, AZ.  I made a submission of kite aerial photographs to the Third Annual Art of Planetary Science exhibition at University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Creative works of art inspired by the exploration of our Universe were featured next to works that would otherwise only be scientific data. It was a fantastic and unique juxtaposition, with over 200 submissions and over 100 artists.

I’ve been using kite aerial photography as a research tool to gather my own remote sensing data. I started this while I was a postdoc at the Smithsonian, and now, at LPL. I use the images to create three dimensional models and to make comparisons of landforms to other planetary surfaces, but I saw an opportunity to show these data as art. Out of tens of thousands of aerial images I’ve collected, I selected eight, and I had them printed on aluminum.

The Art of Planetary Science is an all-volunteer, public outreach effort run by graduate students at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. You can find out more online at and on Facebook ( Enjoy my image submissions below.

Wind and Water at Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

Lava Flow Surfaces, Reminiscent of Mars

Lava fields, El Malpais, New Mexico

Planetary Particles (phi, 4 to -6)