2017 in Review 2: New Planetary Geologic Maps

2017 brings us a couple of new geologic planetary maps. This year European groups published the same number of geologic/geomorphic planetary maps as the USGS. We present short descriptions of them and ask you to vote for your favourite map below.

Geologic Map of Meridiani Planum, Mars

by Brian M. Hynek and Gaetano Di Achille (USA)

The Meridiani Planum area is the landing site of the Opportunity rover. Authors of this map indicate that the map is using more recent orbiter data to “place rover’s findings in a broader context”. It can help evaluate the geologic and hydrologic histories of the Meridiani region.



Geology of the Shakespeare quadrangle (H03), Mercury

by Laura Guzzetta, Valentina Galluzzi, Luigi Ferranti & Pasquale Palumbo (Italy)

A map that is an improvement over the previous, Mariner10 based 35 years old map of the quadrangle, now using MESSENGER data. The region is characterized by three main types of plains materials and four basin materials (formations). This map classifies craters into 3 classes based on their degradation that is not comparable to the 5 classes in the previous map. The map will support the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo project.


2017_Geology of the Shakespeare quadrangle (H03)_Mercury

Geomorphological Map of Ius Chasma, Valles Marineris, Mars

by Krzysztof Dębniak, Daniel Mège & Joanna Gurgurewicz (Poland)

A major part of Valles Marineris, Ius Chasma, is rich in geomorphological features. The authors say that “The map displays 52 main geomorphological units of which some are further subdivided. They include both well-established features (e.g. spur-and-gully morphology on trough walls, landslide scars, and deposits), and newly reported landforms (e.g. alluvial fans with dendritic channels, moraines in western Ius Chasma).”



Bedrock and structural geologic maps of eastern Candor Sulci, western Ceti Mensa, and southeastern Ceti Mensa, Candor Chasma, Valles Marineris region of Mars

by Chris H. Okubo and Tenielle A. Gaither (USA)

Another map from Valles Marineris, which is a part of a large-scale project. On two sheets we can find elevation data maps, geologic maps, cross section, stratigraphic units and events, stereonet plots (showing poles to planes of discontinuities) and other visualizations.



Generic identification and classification of morphostructures in the Noachis-Sabaea region, southern highlands of Mars

by Trishit Ruj, Goro Komatsu, James M. Dohm, Hirdy Miyamoto & Francesco Salese (Italy)

This first morphostructural map of the Noachis-Sabaea region displays structures and forms (craters, grabens, faults, ridges) with correlation to geologic units in detail. According to the authors, the work is “the basis for making inferences about Noachian-Hesperian crustal activity, and provides information for further studies regarding the reconstruction of the evolutional history of the region.”



Geologic map of Ceres

by David A. Williams , Debra L. Buczkowski , Scott C. Mest , Jennifer E.C. Scully (USA)

This map is a global summary of the large Ceres mapping project which brought us 15 quadrangle maps. These maps are available in the Geologic Mapping of Ceres Special Issue of Icarus. The global geologic map is at a scale of 1:3 500 000, which shows that impact craters dominate the surface of this dwarf planet.



Which one is your favorite geologic map of 2017? Vote for it below:


2017 in Review 1: New Planetary Web Mapping Servers

2017 brought a boom in planetary online WMS services. We show you which new service can do what. 

The new Google map

Google worked closely with NASA the next corner in Silicon Valley to prepare the highest, 5m/px resolution global photomosaic of Mars in 2012 that even researchers used for browsing Mars, only available through Google Earth, but not in the web-based map. This year Google added a wealth of new layers, although nothing is published about the image sources or cartographic control. Perhaps at LPSC2018. The service “as is” but still provides the fastest planetary image browsing opportunity for the armchair scientist. Maps include clickable nomenclature. The uniqueness of Google maps is that they are original photomosaics you can’t find elsewhere.

Some of the additions include

  • a beautiful high resolution multiscale color map of Mercury, which shows albedo at low resolution and low-sun relief view when you zoom in, both MESSENGER data
  • a global radar view of Venus at full Magellan resolution
  • a so-so albedo view of the Moon
  • Mars is now a not very seamless but quite high resolution HRSC color mosaic with some gaps
  • Ceres is added but not Vesta
  • Color and multiscale mosaic for Ganymede and Callisto
  • Titan is a nicely rendered seamless infrared+radar view at high resolution
  • Pluto and Charon is also the highest resolution global mosaic in color
  • And mosaics for other outer solar system satellites



ESRI’s Solar System Atlas

The company behind ArcGIS, the most commonly used mapping software in planetary cartography, has published its online atlas from the layers also available for direct import into an ArcGIS project. Unlike for Google, credit is given for all image sources, but in this case mosaicking was not done by ESRI, but all maps were taken from USGS/NASA. This service is basically a tile service to quickly display existing data, including geologic maps.



Planetary Surface Portal / PSUP

This is a service from French university observatories (Paris Sud and Lyon), who made their OMEGA data available through this service. OMEGA (Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, l’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activit) is a hyperspectral imaging spectrometer developed in France, originally for a failed Russian mission, onboard the European Mars Express spacecraft. Mineralogical and albedo data can be viewed, and downloaded from the WMS along with some feature database layers.



Planetary Cesium Viewer

The Cesium technology based viewer from the Paris Sud University in France shows global mosaics for basically all major moons and planets in the Solar System, including the gas giants.  The maps can be viewed as globes or 2D flat maps. The code is open, and available on Github.


Open Planetary Map Mars Basemap v0.1

The OpenPlanetaryMap (OPM) project aims to develop a vector based Mars map that users can modify and personalize. This is a community-based project where planetary scientists can share their cartographic ideas. The map uses CARTO Builder and there are detailed instructions on how you can build your own map within this system. This is the first attempt to create a vector-based Mars basemap, which would bring fresh air into a raster-filled planetary mapping universe.



Moon Trek

The official NASA outreach/research map combo for the Moon, an online platform  for both enthusiasts and researchers. Numerous datasets, mapping and analysis tools are offered. Developed at NASA Ames and JPL in California.



And we did not list those WMS services that started before 2017…

Which one is your favorite? Vote for the best new planetary WMS in 2017:


Map of Libraries on Mars


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.

Book collection

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


Multimedia collection

Title Year
Introduction to Mars Radio 1996
War of the Worlds 1938
Wells and Welles 1940
The Viking Landings 1976


Artwork collection

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