Planetary Maps from Archie’s Press: The Elements of Space

Archie’s Press publishes minimalist “mental” maps that are built from circles. “The circle, our Universe’s softest shape, clearly conveys size and connections.” – Archie says. He created a “Map from the Mind” for dozens of cities, simplifying structures and districts in the simplest terms. The same way Harry Beck’s London Tube Map simplified the representation of the real world to lines and curves, Archie Archambault expands this idea to cities, states, – and celestial bodies. He finds the best known features and names and shows them in a way easy to keep in your mind. This is cartography at its best.
His outer space series, also made along the same geometric principles, includes the maps of Jupiter, Mars, the Moon, Saturn, the Sun, The Solar System and the Galaxy. There is no unnecessry element on the maps: even annotations serve a cartographic purpose.

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Counting the craters of the Moon

Stuart Robbins of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder does that others don’t even dare to start: he counts the craters of the Moon.


How many craters are there on the moon?

“It’s a question that cannot be answered.  You have to define a diameter first.  And once you do, any number quoted must be taken with the caveat that every individual will vary in what they consider to be an impact crater (e.g., Robbins et al., 2014).  Based on how I identify craters (which appears to be similar to many others in the field), I can say there are about 9300 craters larger than 15 km on the moon — I’ve mapped all of these, globally. My projection for craters ≥1 km on the moon is approximately 1.1 million.  There are several ways to estimate this based on the areas I’ve completed so far (35% of the moon — see this poster), but in the end, a simple linear extrapolation at this point is about as good as a more detailed one based on fraction of maria versus highlands.  I should know the answer in a few months.”
Is there any crowd-sourcing involved or you are counting one by one? 
“I am involved with a crowd-sourcing crater effort (CosmoQuest), but this global moon database is only me, it does not involve any crowd-sourcing.”


For morphological attributes, if there will be funding, are you going to inspect all craters individually or is there an automation for that?
“Individually.  I am aware of one or two automated methods, but they are even worse than automated crater detection and it would be more work to correct them than to just do it all manually.”
What was the fun in this work, if any?
“To be blunt, the only fun is when it’s done and you can look back and see the fruits of your labor.  Tracing circles is incredibly tedious and boring.”
Did you have to redo some parts?
“I have re-done a few very large impacts that I originally did several years ago (in support of some CosmoQuest work).  I have also re-done parts of the south pole within a few degrees of the pole with LOLA GDR that were originally done with LROC WAC mosaics because the GDR is significantly better quality there.  I learned from that for the north pole and started with LOLA GDR rather than LROC WAC within 5° of the lunar north pole.”
Major discoveries so far or predicted using this dataset?
“I have had little time to do a look-back and actually analyze the data beyond producing basic density maps which are, at the moment, only for about 1/3 of the lunar surface.  The only thing I think I’ve found that I have not seen reported elsewhere is that the moon’s north pole is saturated with kilometer-scale secondary craters.”

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Blue Moon 2015: The new LOLA topographic map of the Moon

It may be the signature color for the next generation of planetary topographic maps.
In addition to standard geologic maps, USGS also produces outreach maps of planets and moons. The last in this series is the Image Mosaic and Topographic map of the Moon, released in April 2015. Its press release reached 3.3 million viewers, and it has printed 5000 copies so far for distribution.


Trent Hare with the SIM3316 map at LPSC 2016

Lunar Colors

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Mapping the geomorphology of Sputnik Planum

“Looking at the surface of a planet or moon for the first time can be bewildering, particularly when confronted by a variety of terrains and landforms. This is certainly what NASA’s New Horizons team felt when we received the first close-up pictures of Pluto after the flyby in July 2015. None of us were expecting to see such a diverse range of landforms like mountains and glaciers of exotic ice on such a small, cold and distant world.

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Europeans map the geology of Mercury

The BepiColombo team is preparing a geological map of Mercury in several quadrangles in Italy and the UK, involving PhD students, postdocs and one undergraduate student.

While USGS is now publishing the MESSENGER team’s global geologic map of Mercury, in 1:15M scale, last year, employing three mappers, one for each quadrangle, the BepiColombo team have completed the 1:3M mapping of a little more than one-fifth of the surface of Mercury in three sheets.


Work in progress: The boundary between the H03 and H04 quadrangles has yet to be checked.

We spoke to Valentina Galluzzi and asked her to give us an insight into the mapping process. Galluzzi told us that they are working thanks to the BepiColombo mission related funds. Beside the active mappers, the PI, Co-PI, Co-I and associates of the SIMBIO-SYS team and the BepiColombo Surface and Composition Working Group also support the project. “We need a full synergy of geologists, astrophysicists and engineers in order to have a complete grasp of the data that we are using” – Galluzzi says.

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