An Astronaut's Guide to Mars - Ordnance Survey Releases Detailed Red Planet Map Online

Monday, 15 February 2016 - 2:43PM
Mars
Space Imagery
Monday, 15 February 2016 - 2:43PM
An Astronaut's Guide to Mars - Ordnance Survey Releases Detailed Red Planet Map Online
Not content with making detailed maps of our own planet, renowned British mapping agency Ordnance Survey has just it's first map of another world. Using data from NASA, OR cartographers have created their first map of Mars, releasing the images online via their Flickr account.

Opening quote
"It was a little hard at first to actually understand the data itself in terms of things like the elevation and the scale and so on," said cartographer, Chris Wesson. "But actually the physical process was almost identical to what was used to make an Earth map, or any OS map."
Closing quote

Indeed, thanks to a traditional format and color pallette, this map of Mars looks, on the face of it, remarkably like many of the agency's more traditional works.


The level of detail contained within the map is part of the reason it was created. Ordnance Survey were commissioned to make the map by Birkbeck University's Dr Peter Grindrod, a key member of the team planning Europe's ExoMars mission. ExoMars will see a combined Rover/Orbiter mission sent to the Red Planet with the express purpose of searching for signs of past or present life on the planet. Wesson says that, so far, Grindrod and his team are extremely happy with the results and potential applications of the map.

The map covers some 10 million Sq km of Mars, and actually features the same part of the Red Planet that that was recently featured in Ridley Scott's The Martian.



Seen in the top left of the map, the Acidalia Planitia is the area of Mars in which Mark Watney's Ares 3 mission all starts to go pear-shaped. In the bottom right of the map, you'll see Mark Watney's rescue site, the Schiaparelli Crater, some 3,200km away in a straight line.


The hope is that, one day, maps like this can be used by future Astronauts to allow them to navigate the treacherous Martian terrain with ease. Certainly, this is something that Mark Watney would have really appreciated.
Science
Space
Mars
Space Imagery

Load Comments