Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars

I´m very happy to present you today a new product which recently could be finished and is now available for everyone. Please have a look to this new post.

Cover of new Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars

Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars – Application for Astronomy Clubs is now open “Mars 36” is the title of a new Atlas of Mars, published for Mars Year 36, with a geographic approach. This is the first planetary Atlas that presents a planetary surface with physical geographic thematic layers. The landforms created by lava, wind, water, and ice are shown separately on a topographic base map. The thematic layers are taken from other scientific feature databases, combined in a way as it is familiar in terrestrial atlases. Also included are the first Martian climate charts and climate maps, and another first is the first manually edited Martian albedo map of the 21st century. The explanations are in English, Hungarian and Czech languages.  Its structure and themes follow 20th-century school atlases. At the same time, the atlas also follows in the footsteps of the planetary mapping school in MIIGAiK, Moscow, founded by Kira Shingareva.

The map editor, Henrik Hargitai, the former chair of the Commission on Planetary Cartography, graduated from the Department of Geography at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He began his planetary mapping career in an internship at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and then in the Cosmic Materials Space Research Group of Szaniszló Bérczi at ELTE, Budapest. Mapping works began in 2016 at NASA’s Ames Research Center where he worked as postdoctoral fellow.

The Atlas will be first presented to the scientific community at the March 2021 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Astronomy circles and clubs in Central Europe (defined here as Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia) can apply for the Atlas for free of charge as a group, by sending a visual or literary group work entitled “The Perseverance Landing on Mars — and Us”, to planetarymaps@gmail.com, by 25 February 2021. The best applicant groups will receive the atlas for all the group’s members up to 18 years old. Please indicate the number of children in the group (6-18 years old) and the postal address.

Available online: https://www.etsy.com/listing/955444239/mars-36-pocket-atlas

Henrik Hargitai

planet map editor

Perseverance rover landed successfully on Mars

After nearly seven months of travel, NASA’s Perseverance rover has successfully touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021. The mission’s goals are to search for evidence of past life and habitable environments in Jezero crater and collect and store samples that, for the first time in history, could be returned to Earth by a future mission.

Mars 2020 landing ellipse inside Jezero crater. (Credit: USGS).

To safely land on the rugged Martian landscape, the spacecraft used a new technology called “Terrain Relative Navigation.” As it descended through the planet’s atmosphere, the spacecraft used its onboard maps to know exactly where it is and to avoid hazards as it lands on the planet’s surface. For the navigation to work, the spacecraft needs the best possible maps of the landing site and surrounding terrain. And now safely landed, these base maps will continue to serve for mission operations on Earth as scientists plot where the rover will explore once it’s on the ground. The new maps are based on images collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Context Camera and the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera and are available online here. Images taken by Mars Express’s High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and the HRSC Team created elevation models were also critical in validating these maps.

Also released, and to help with ground operations, is a new geologic map of Jezero crater and Nili Planum, an ancient and cratered highlands. The geologic map covers the landing site and surrounding terrain that the rover will encounter on its travels during the course of its mission. An online viewer for this geologic map has also been made available.

Jezero Crater on Mars Geologic Map Detail
Geologic Map of Jezero crater on Mars (Sun and Stack, 2020; https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3464)