How do you chose your summer travel destination? Checking websites, asking friends? And how do you navigate there? Using road signs? Online maps on your smartphone? Offline maps on smartphone? Paper maps? GSP turned on? Trusting your instincts?
OK now how would you do this on Mars if you were a Mars Astronaut? The mission: explore an area 100 km in radius (the size of Maryland or Belgium). What’s worth studying? How do you get there? What if you lose power? What landmarks will you have? With no roads, no vegetation, but lots of craters, rocks and dust, you will need a good map designed for planning and navigating – a map that can save your life.
“Where the orbital maps indicated a smooth plain, there was instead a vast crater field and collections of truck-sized boulders.” (On the Apollo 11 landing)
And you want to avoid a situation like that, just seconds before landing, as it happened during the Apollo 11 mission.
On Mars, it will probably be different.
We asked students, GIS professionals and citizen scientists to design a map, or map elements that could be useful for the astronauts who will use them in… well, at least 25 years from now.
Here we show you a selection of the works and ideas we received in our Exploration Zone competition:
Hiking on Mars
Map (c) Mateusz Pitura
Mateusz Pitura showed Mars in golden ochre colors. The Hebrus Valles habitat is next to the rampart flow front of a crater ejecta. The author evaluated all routes according to their difficulties. It is a hiking map on Mars.
- Easy – < 15 km long. No special preparations required. Possibility of surface dust and small craters. Slopes under 10 degrees.
- Medium – 15 -30 km. Rocks, rock rubble, small craters, surface dust, troughs and slope above 10 degrees.
- Hard – >30 km. Hazards inlcude steep slopes, >30 cm rocks which could be an obstacle for rovers, big rock formations, craters, surface dust, troughs, ice and depressions.
The Visor Map
Jonathan Ocon mapped Acheron Fossae. Usually we use some hand-held device to view maps, but on Mars, you are already within a device, the space suit. So instead of a paper checklist fixed on your arm, as they did on the Moon, we could use augmented and virtual reality technology and project geospatial information onto the visor used as a screen. In this view, it displays all data about nearby potential targets, date, time, and overview map.
The Map of a New Home
Map (c) Eian Ray
This map by Eian Ray shows Eastern Valles Marineris. The map contains contour lines, points of interests and distances from the hab that could be the most important data to know when you leave the hab and want to return in time. The map also contains fictional names: ” Not only will this encourage mental and emotional continuity by exposing the mission participants to names of places they are already familiar with, but it will help foster a sense of place as the astronauts begin to develop a geospatial awareness of their new Martian home. … It softens the difficulties faced by those who’ve settled in a new land, while drawing new explorers to an unfamiliar land with visions of familiar sights and sounds, real or imagined” – Ray says.
Showing directions and places of other landing sites is a unique feature of this map. ” In the unfamiliar environment of the Martian landscape, I wanted to create a sense of place for the explorers. – Ray explains – On Mars there will be no place, culture, people, food, sights or smells that can provide this context. The life-support and equipment that accompany them will be intimately familiar to the explorers, but even these objects won’t fill many of the social, emotional, and geospatial needs firmly planted in our psyches through an Earthly evolutionary process. There are no sources of security, no places of refuge, and no ability to let one’s guard down. … To mitigate feelings of isolation and potential psychological distress I decided it was important to illustrate the bearings and distance from the landing site to all human activity on the planet. This is intended to convey to the astronauts that they are a part of something larger, something on-going, something that is connected and provides continuity to the rest of humanity despite
being 225 to 400 million kilometers from Earth. Similar to maritime maps of the New World during the 16th century that included Europe and northwest Africa as reference points, this map includes significant historical places to provide the same geospatial context.”
Less is more
Camillo Battistioli mapped Acheron Fossae. These maps don’t want to achieve photorealistic representation, instead, it shows the surface in a simplified way: contour lines become elevation slices, shades of brows show height and a grid helps our sense of distance. The pathways are clear and simple, and a perspective view helps familiarize with the target area at a single glance. This happens when cartography, science and art meets.
All-in-one App for Mars
Illustrations (c) JJ Moran
Map data are just one of the many things Astronauts should know here and now. 3D spatial data, live streams of weather conditions – dust storms, approaching dust devils, potential or existing fog or CO2 frost -, health data can hugely affect the mission. It is also good to see what other astronauts – and robots – are doing. Astronauts likely won’t need to download apps from an appstore: they will have all in one. JJ Moran‘s app made with the Unity game engine shows a preview of what this app will look like. “After conceptualizing several possibilities it was decided that from an astronaut’s perspective, it would be best if the map product could be integrated with an existing GUI. This GUI could hypothetically be a single interface the astronauts could use for communications, mission updates, and map data.” – JJ says.
We are proud to present the Map of Libraries on Mars.
If you happen to land on Mars and feel bored, perhaps terribly bored, and lonely, too – no worries! Just go and find the Phoenix Lander equipped with the First Library on Mars. This unique facility offers books, and its multimedia collection includes radio broadcasts, artworks, and greetings from prominent space scientists.
The full catalog of the library is below.
Attention, astronauts! Please, return the borrowed items within 2 weeks. Multimedia items cannot be renewed, sorry.
For a high resolution Map of Libraries of Mars, click here.
Ah, yes. We had some budget cuts so you have to bring your own DVD-ROM player. Sorry about the inconvenience this may cause.
Handle with care! Hand by author. DVD by Planetary Society.
The Catalog of the First Library on Mars.
Author Title Date
Abe Kobo The Special Envoy
Aitmatov, Chingiz The Day Lasts More than 100 years 1983
Aldiss, Brian The Difficulties of Photographing Nix Olympica 1986
Anderson, Poul The Martian Crown Jewels 1958
Aramaki Yoshio Soft Clocks
Arnold, Edwin L. Gulliver of Mars (excerpt) 1905
Ash, Fenton A Trip to Mars (excerpt) 1909
Asimov, Isaac I’m in Marsport Without Hilda 1957
Asimov, Isaac The Martian Way 1952
Asimov, Isaac The Romance of Mars (excerpt) 1971
Bear, Greg A Martian Ricorso 1976
Ballard, J.G. The Time Bomb 1963
Benford, Gregory All the Beer on Mars 1988
Binder, Eando Via Etherline 1937
Bogdanov, Alexander Red Star 1908
Bova, Ben Mars 1993
Brackett, Leigh 2038: The Road to Sinharat 1963
Bradbury, Ray The Martian Chronicles 1950
Brown, Fredric The Last Martian 1950
Burroughs, E.R. A Princess of Mars (excerpt) 1917
Clarke, Arthur C. Transit of Earth 1951
Clarke, Arthur C. The Sands of Mars 1951
Delany, Samuel High Weir 1968
Derleth, August The Martian Artifact 1957
Dick, Philip K. We Can Remember It for You Wholesale 1966
Dick, Steven Back to the Future 1993
Disch, Thomas The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (excerpt) 1988
Dorsey, Candas Jane Johnny Appleseed on the New World 1985
Dunsany, Lord Mars on the Ether 1937
Eco, Umberto I tre cosmonauti 1989
Fast, Howard The Martian Shop 1959
Friedman, Louis Afterword to Visions of Mars 1996
Gallun, Raymond Z. Old Faithful 1934
Greg, Percy Across the Zodiac (excerpt) 1880
Harrison, Harry One Step from Earth 1970
Hillegas, Mark R. Martians and Mythmakers: 1877-1938 1970
Hoyle, Fred The Martians 1967
Ishikawa Takashi The Road to the Sea
Kazantsev, Alexander The Martian 1962
Kazantsev, Alexander A Visitor from Outer Space 1962
Kline, Otis Adelbert The Swordsman of Mars (excerpt) 1933
Koch, Howard The Panic Broadcast 1970
Lasswitz, Kurd Auf Zwei Planeten (excerpt) 1897
Le Rouge, Gustave Le prisonnier de la planet Mars 1908
Lowell, Percival Mars as the Abode of Life (excerpt) 1909
McDonald, Ian The Catharine Wheel 1983
Merril, J. Kornbluth C. Outpost Mars 1952
Miller, P. Schuyler The Cave 1934
Mitsuse Ryu The Sunset, 2217 A.D.
Moorcock, Michael Mars 1988
Moore, C.L. Dust of Gods 1934
Newman, Kim Famous Monsters 1988
Niven, Larry The Hole Man 1973
Owen, Tobias Science versus Fiction 1993
Piper, H. Beam Omnilingual 1957
Pohl, Frederik The Martian Star-Gazers 1962
Pope, Gustavus W. Journey to Mars (excerpt) 1894
Robinson, Kim Stanley Green Mars 1985
Rosny, J. Heinz Les navigateurs de l’infini 1925
Russell, Bertrand Planetary Effulgence 1961
Sagan, Carl Cosmos (excerpt) 1980
Schiaparelli, Giovanni Report on Canali 1877
Serviss, Garrett P. Edison’s Conquest on Mars 1898
Shklovskii, Iosef Are the Moons of Mars Artificial Satellites? 1966
Simak, Clifford Hermit of Mars 1939
Sinisalo, Johanna PunatShti 1990
Stapledon, Olaf Last and First Men (exerpt) 1930
Steele, Allen Live from Mars Hotel 1988
Stoff, Joshua The Voyage of the Ruslan 1986
Strugatsky, A. & B. The Second Invasion from Mars 1979
Sturgeon, Theodore The Man Who Lost the Sea 1959
Sturgeon, Theodore The Martian and the Moron 1949
Swift, Jonathan Gulliver’s Travel 1726
Tolstoi, Alexei Aelita 1922
Van Vogt, A.E. Enchanted Village 1950
Varley, John In the Hall of the Martian Kings 1976
Voltaire Micromegas 1752
Vonnegut, Kurt The Sirens of Titan (excerpt) 1959
Watt-Evans, Lawrence Windwagon Smith and the Martian 1989
Weinbaum, Stanley G. A Martian Odyssey 1934
Wells, H.G. The War of the Worlds (excerpt) 1889
Wicks, Mark To Mars Via the Moon (excerpt) 1911
Williamson, Jack Nonstop to Mars 1939
Zelazny, Roger A Rose for Ecclesiastes 1963
Introduction to Mars Radio 1996
War of the Worlds 1938
Wells and Welles 1940
The Viking Landings 1976
Artist Title Year
Frank R. Paul Martian Science Fiction
Iwasaki Kazuaki Twin Peaks
Peter Kovalev Olga Kovaleva Experiment
Paul Fouché Le lever du soleil sur les canaux de Mars 1884
Alvim-Correa Martian Fighting Machines 1898
W. R. Leigh The Things that Live on Mars 1908
Artist Unknown The First Message from Mars 1909
Winsor McCay Little Nemo in Slumberland 1910
Frank Schoonover A Princess of Mars 1917
Artist Unkown Aelita 1924
Lucian Rudaux Les dÄsertiques sur Mars 1928
Universal Pictures Mars Attack the World 1936
Artist Unknown A Martian at his Radio Set 1937
Allen Anderson Queen of the Martian Catacombs 1949
Clifford N. Geary Red Planet 1949
Richard Powers Outpost Mars 1952
Wally Wood Weird Science 1953
Chuck Jones I claim this planet in the name of Mars! 1953
Chesley Bonestell Mars from Deimos 1953
Chesley Bonestell Arrival at Mars Orbit 1953
Frank Kelly-Freas Martians Go Home! 1954
Alex Schomburg Secret of the Martian Moons 1954
Ed Emschwiller Follow Me … 1955
Paramount Pictures Corporation Robinson Crusoe on Mars 1964
Andrei Sokolov Alexei Leonov Cosmosdrome on Phobos 1970
Andrei Sokolov Alexei Leonov Approaching Mars 1970
Rick Sternbach “Special Velikovsky Issue” of analog magazine 1976
Ludek Pesek Approaching Dust Storm on Mars
Vincent di Fate The War of the Worlds 1978
Donald E. Davis Mars from Deimos 1978
Anne Norcia Valles Marineris 1978
David A. Hardy Terraformed Mars from Base on Phobos 1982
Ezra Orion Proposal for sculpture on Mars 1982
Roger Dean The War of the Worlds 1984
Robert T. McCall Pioneering the Space Frontier
Vyacheslav Davidov Phobos mission 1987
Arthur Gilbert Phobos Encounter 1987
Jon Lomberg East Meets West (and Goes to Mars) 1987
William K. Hartman Aerial View of Mars 1988
Pamela Lee Together to Mars 1988
Michael Whelan The Martian Chronicles 1989
Paramount Pictures Corporation Enterprise Dedication Plaque 1989
Lilika Papanicolaou Sunset on Mars 1989
Adam Hughes Mark Nelson Martian Manhunter 1990
Paul Maker David Scharf Nanolithograph of Viking lander 1991
Beth Avary Together… 1991
Ron Miller Dust Devils on Mars 1992
Michael Carroll Russian Rover 1992
Paul Hudson Where Next, Columbus? 1992
Carter Emmart Farewell Tom, We Yield Not 1992
Don Dixon Red Mars 1993
Carlitos Cruz Peace of the Worlds 1993
Greg Cooper The Moon over Mars 1993
Dominic Terlizzi 1993
James Yeh A Sunrise at Olympus Mons 1993
Courtney Wilson Aliens of the Future 1993
Aaron Madriaga The Dawn of a New Era 1993
Neil Lande Mars Observers 1993
Samina Ashrof 1993
Margo Anderson Mars in Space 1993
Daniel McConnell Mars of Tomorrow 1993A6A1:D66
Peter Zorin Mars Rover 1993
Dusty Duvall Mars City 1993
Mars Exploration Zone Map Design Competition – Winners
In Young Professional category:
1st place: Eian Ray (USA – Eastern Valles Marineris)
2nd place: Jonathan Ocon (USA – Acheron Fossae)
3rd place: JJ Moran (USA – Huygens Crater)
Honorable Mention: Matthew Leach (UK)
In University Student category:
1st place: Mateusz Pitura (Poland – Hebrus Valles)
2nd place: Brandon Zegiel, Gary Brown, David Brown, and Larry Lang (USA – Viking)
3rd place: Amy Wootton (South Africa – Noachis Terra)
In Middle and High School Student category:
Winner: Sujit Lakshmikanth (USA – Mawrth Vallis)
In Citizen Scientist and Professional category:
Winner: Camillo Battistioli (Italy – Acheron Fossae)
Congratulations to all the Mars mappers from three continents!
October 26, 2016 – Submission of Abstract and Papers
January 10, 2017 – Notification of acceptance
January 31, 2017 – Submission of Final Manuscripts
The program of this year’s planetary mappers meeting is now available online.
The talks will include the presentation of the first field geologic maps on another planet, geomorphic maps of Titan and a geologic map of Charon. Posters include a superdetailed study of dunes in Ius Chasma and an exciting study of the Undifferentiated Plains of Titan.
The meeting will take place in Flagstaff, AZ, on June 13-15.