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Hungarian Geographer Creates First Ever Mars Atlas

Tamás Vaski 2021.02.17.

A Hungarian geographer has created the first detailed atlas of Mars. Former NASA researcher Henrik Hargitai has gathered the vast information of the Red Planet together for its 36th recorded new year.

The atlas, scaled to 1:10 millionths of the giant planet, even includes climate and weather conditions.

Up until now, maps of Mars which have been in use have been photo mosaics or topographic maps created through different means. While the atlas is not entirely complete, it is the closest to a detailed, physically tangible mapping of the planet available to the public.

Fact

The first Mars year was recorded in 1956 during a significant dusk storm on the planet. While a year on Earth lasts 365 days, a year on mars lasts 668 Earth days. Since it takes Mars twice as long to orbit the sun, every day is 39 minutes longer.

To gather all the maps of Mars into such an atlas Hargitai used a geographic information processing database he created in 2016 at NASA.

With the funding of the Strasbourg-based European Science Foundation the Mars 36 pocket atlas was published after it won the Europlanet Central Europe Hub funding competition.

The 60 pages of detailed maps in the atlas follow the results of American satellite photos from the 1960s, and geographic and climate maps as well as diagrams are provided at the end.

Henrik Hargitai is a professor at Eötvös Loránd University and created the map with the assistance of students from the University’s environmental sciences department. Future plans involve creating a map of Special Regions, areas with the highest likelihood of life on Mars.

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The publication is available on Etsy.com as well as the Lira Bookstore.

Featured photo illustration via MTI/EPA/ESA/ATG Medialab