USGS aims to complete its move from Menlo Park to Moffett Field next fall | September 9, 2022 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - September 9, 2022

USGS aims to complete its move from Menlo Park to Moffett Field next fall

by Cameron Rebosio

The United States Geological Service (USGS) plans to fully vacate its Menlo Park campus by fall 2023 and move to Moffett Field in Mountain View.

The 17-acre Menlo Park property on Middlefield Road, also known as Rockaway Grove, was seeking bids at a minimum of $120 million, but the auction closed Aug. 30 without a buyer.

USGS staff members are currently working to clear out materials and items that they don't plan to bring to Moffett Field, including samples, equipment and documents. All property must be disposed of according to government regulations, as some of the labs at Moffett Field will be smaller and shared.

Despite the smaller lab space, USGS employees are excited for the move, according to Jane Reid, deputy director of regions 8 and 10, which includes California and several nearby states. Reid said she expects that sharing land with NASA will make the working relationship stronger.

"We're sharing expertise, we're working together and on modern ways of doing science, and more remote ways to do science," Reid said. "(USGS) can provide the ground-truthing of information that's on the earth for what NASA can do from the air and from space, or working together on using some of their capabilities to gather more data from space, working on advanced drones kind of work. So scientifically, it's a incredibly great opportunity."

The reason that Reid describes the move as "complex" is mostly in the movement of sensitive lab equipment across the 10 miles between locations.

"Moving glassware is one thing," Reid said. "But moving a highly sensitive scientific piece of equipment or instrument that has to be protected properly, it has to be turned off properly, it has to be stored properly even if it's only 10 miles ... then it has to be installed properly and ramped back up and recalibrated."

Transported lab equipment includes an ion microprobe that looks at the source and age of rocks, equipment from labs that study rock mechanics as well as a paleomagnetic lab that looks at the history of rocks through magnetic properties. USGS is currently trying to obtain a statement of work to proceed with the transportation of sensitive equipment.

This move is anticipated to save USGS $300 million in rent over 20 years, as it is moving onto federal property.

"There's been so much great science done in Menlo Park, and we've really enjoyed being a part of that community," said Reid. "We are looking forward to building that community (in Mountain View) as well. It's exciting to be on the forefront of the future down in Mountain View being co-located with NASA."

Email Staff Writer Cameron Rebosio at [email protected]


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