Recent news reported Ordnance Survey designs digital maps of Mars. Ordnance Survey is an organization which maps out Britain’s transit ways. Now, the organization has surveyed Mars’s surface in order to create a digital map as well as a one-off paper.
The map is said to be easily read and shows Mars’s landscapes in great detail. In order to create the map, Ordnance Survey used NASA information and observations. As experts say, the map covers 3, 8 million square miles, approximately 7 percent of the Red Planet’s surface.
David Henderson, head of the Ordnance Survey claimed that at the moment, space agencies are in competition to send the first man on Mars. He also added that:
‘Becoming more familiar with space is something that interests us all and the opportunity to apply our innovative cartography and mapping trade craft to a different planet was something we couldn’t resist’.
Moreover, Henderson explained his organization was required to map a region of Mars in OS style. Ordnance Survey maps can be easily understood and have convincing visualization. This is why the organization considers it can show their usefulness in planning missions. Moreover, this way the public receives more information about space missions.
Chris Wesson, cartographer, stated there are many differences between an Earth map and a Mars map. Even if the principles are the same, Earth maps have another design and different aesthetics. For example, when creating an Earth map landmarks like churches are pointed out while a Mars map shows craters and landing sites. Wesson explained that Mars’ topography is very different than the Earth’s.
The Red Planet’s surface is very uneven. Therefore the experts needed different lightning in order to reveal Mars’s landscapes. They faced real challenges when smoothing the contours as they appeared to be very jagged. Nonetheless, the Mars map is not all red as the majority would assume. Wesson claimed he kept things simple. A great part of his map is focused on elevation data and place names, like a normal map of our planet.
The experts hope the map would be suitable for future Mars missions in the next five or 10 years, including the ExoMars journey that will set off in 2018. In September 2015 NASA announced they found water on Mars. In October the agency made a public statement saying that by 2030 humans might be living on the Red Planet. The fact that the Ordnance Survey designs digital maps of Mars is seen as another great step to facilitate the journey to Mars.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia