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, 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:

Henrik Hargitai

planet map editor

The Global Geomorphic Map of Titan

Rosaly Lopes and her colleagues have completed the map of the major geomorphic units on Titan at 1:20 million scale. They identified and mapped six geomorphic units: plains, dunes, hummocky terrain, lakes, labyrinth terrain and craters and also identifed their stratigraphic relations.




3D Printed Small Bodies on Your Desk

A new set of small and mid sized planetary body shape models have been published  in a format that can be used directly in 3D printers. The files are in .obj format. The catalog contains 21 asteroids, 5 comets and 21 planetary satellites. The latter mostly includes irregular bodies, but the famous Mimas is also included. If you just want to play with the models, is a good online tool for viewing and rotating the shape models. The file size (and resolution) of the shape models vary from few 100s kbytes to more than 100 Mbytes.

For professional planetary cartographers and geologists the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory developed a new mapping tool where irregular bodies can be easily mapped.

Image: Shape model of Bennu is being printed at the EPSC-DPS meeting in Geneva

20190917_162308A variety of shapes and sizes

20190917_163152Churyumov-Gerasimenko in your hand

The First Global Geologic Map of Europa

The global geologic map of Europa will provide the first insight into the global stratigraphy and distribution of geologic units of the icy moon of Jupiter. The current mappig effort serves both the astrogeologic community, NASA’s Europa Clipper mission planning (launch planned in 2023), and also may be useful for ESA’s JUICE mission (launch planned in 2022) that will have overlapping missions.

Europa has a global ocean underneath the ice crust. The map helps identify sites where the subsurface materials interact with the surface (or space) providing windows into the potentially habitable interior of the planet.

The results show that the most recent landforms are chaos regions that are the second most widespread on the moon after the ridged plains. As the lead author, E. J. Leonard presented at the EPSC-DPS conference, microchaoses do not concentrate around larger chaos areas as expected, but instead they occur at the intersections of linear forms, breaking up ridges, bands and cycloids.

Erin Leonard (JPL) started mapping in January 2017. “The varying resolution and imaging geometry (e.g., lighting) make creating a consistent global map a challenge because terrain can have a different appearance depending on these factors”, Leonard explains.

In addition to the 1:15M global map, where only units larger than 15 km are identified, the author has started a second, regional series as her postdoctoral project. The 1:500k regional maps would show those regions that were imaged at the highest resolution (200 m/pixel). Conamara Chaos and Moytura Regio are the first two in the regional series. “We chose these locations to start with because they contain a variety of units at the global scale”, Leonard says.

The long-awaited map of Europa is under final review now and is expected to be published soon at USGS.


Microsoft Word - MappersMeetingAbs2019_v2.docx
Global geologic map of Europa and unit descriptions (Leonard et al. 2019)

LPI created new maps of the Lunar South Pole to help human mission planning

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) has a new online resource available for the Moon’s south pole ( Given NASA’s recent direction to implement Space Policy Directive-1 landing astronauts at the south pole by 2024, the LPI has compiled a series of maps, images, and illustrations designed to provide context and reference for those interested in exploring this area.

The highlight of the new online atlas is a set of 14 topographic maps derived from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) data. Dr. Julie D. Stopar, USRA staff scientist and director of the Regional Planetary Image Facility (RPIF) at the LPI, utilized these data to generate a series of south pole maps that can be used to visualize the terrain near the south pole.

The maps include topographic maps, illumination maps and slope maps of the Moon’s South Polar Ridge with special attention to the permanently shadowed regions.

A movie shows one month of Polar Illumination at the South Pole


Where would you build your Moon Base?

(via LPI)

Geologic units of Ultima Thule mapped

The geologic units of Ultima Thule were presented at the NASA press conference this week. Kirby Runyon, a New Horizons science team member from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland differentiated hills, troughs, impact or sublimation craters or pits, streaks and hills,  and albedo features on the contact binary asteroid. The team named the largest depression “Maryland” crater.


Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/National Optical Astronomy Observatory


Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The first map of asteroid Bennu published

Synced with the start of LPSC, DellaGiustina et al. in Nature published the first photomosaic map of the asteroid Bennu, using images from NASA’s NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The mosaic can also be accessed via the Osiris-Rex website. Challenges included the diamond shape of the asteroid and variable illumination conditions on the available images. Resolution is 1.6-1.8 m/pixel.



Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona. Equirectangular projection.

2017 in Review 4: New Planetary Base Maps

Planetary Base Maps as visualizations reaching to a broad audience are a basis images used by scientists for their cartographic work. In 2017 we had some new essential base maps published for Pluto, Ceres and Mimas.

Pluto Global Color Map

The color mosaic of Pluto is created from images taken by Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) on New Horizons that flew by the dwarf planet in 2015. It is, for now, the most detailed mosaic of Pluto reaching a resolution of 300 meters per pixel.


Uncontrolled Mosaic of Ceres

by Th. Roatsch, E. Kersten, K.-D. Matz, F. Preusker, F. Scholten, R. Jaumann, C.A. Raymond, C.T. Russell

Full atlas of Ceres in a resolution about 35 meters per pixel with 62 sheets was released this year. Photos were taken between December 16, 2015, and August 8, 2016, by the Framing Camera from the Dawn mission. This is an impressive visualization of the dwarf planet, which will surely be the base for future maps.


The Mimas Atlas

by Roatsch, T., Kersten, E., Hoffmeister, A., Wahlisch, M.

Small Saturn’s moon Mimas got complete visual image thanks to Cassini spacecraft. The CICLOPS (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations) team have released full mosaic and cartographic sheet version of the maps. These images are an update to the previous work from 2010 showing us the moon with an image scale of 216.2 meters per pixel.—June-2017


Which one is your favorite planetary Base Map in 2017?

Vote for it:

2017 in Review 3: New Planetary Citizen Maps

Citizen scientist maps should deserve more attention, they are not just another renderings of already-known images but beautifully crafted high quality (and resolution) cartographic products.

The Goddesses of Venus

by Eleanor Lutz (USA)

A continuation of the Medieval map of Mars project, this unusual map takes you to the land of goddesses.


Maps of Mercury

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt)  (New Zealand)

This series of Mercury maps show Mercury as no one has seen it before. These maps use MESSENGER topographic and color albedo data alone and combined. Nomenclature is dual, blue names are albedo features, white ones are topographic.


Craters of the Moon

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt)  (New Zealand)

This thematic map shows the topography of the Moon with crater names accompanied with little flags that show the nationality of the person the crater was named after.


The Planet Venus / Venus – Map of Craters

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt) (New Zealand)

Generic map of Venus, based on old Magellan radar altimeter data, with a fresh, terrestrial look. The Venus crater map looks as if it was taken from a School Atlas. Very Earth-like colors of very alien world with a random distribution of impact craters symbolized with little suns, otherwise to small to show up at this scale.


47 Mars exploration zones for a future human mission

By Mateusz Pitura (Poland)

Did you know that Mars Exploration Zones still have no Wikipedia entry? Until a Wiki editor would discover that we have dozens of candidate human Mars mission targets, here is the map of these sites.


Titan Texture Map 8k

by FarGetaNik (DeviantArt) (Germany)

This map is at least as good as the new Google Earth Titan map and combines infrared equatorial coverage with polar radar swaths.  Dark areas show lakes at the poles and dunes at the equator.


Also this year:

Photomosaic Maps of Pluto

Photomosaic Map of Io

Which one is your favorite planetary Citizen Map in 2017?

Vote for it:

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: