Feeds

ESA boffins make Martian maps

Not lost in space

Seven Steps to Software Security

If you have been hoping to take a hiking holiday on Mars, but have found your plans spoiled by the dreadful lack of detailed maps, fear not: the European Space Agency has come to your rescue.

ESA scientists have developed a series of ordnance survey-style maps of the red planet, using data from the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) experiment on the Mars Express probe. So far the maps are confined to one relatively small region, but the researchers behind the maps say there is no reason the technique could not be applied to other parts of the planet as well.

Contour map of the Iani Chaos depression

The maps are based on high resolution images of the so-called Iani Chaos region, and feature detailed height contours, as well as names for many of the geographical features.

The researchers chose this area of Mars because its surface is particularly interesting. It is a large depression some 330km by 430km across, but its surface is hilly and strewn with rocks.

The high points of land are probably the remnants of an older surface of Mars, and make for a more interesting topographical challenge than mapping the contours of sweeping sand dunes.

The researchers say these islands were most likely left behind when the land in between sank into cavities below, possibly as ice melted in volcanic heat. The water would have flowed away into the Ares Vallis, towards the northern lowlands of Mars, leaving the rugged and mixed-up surface we see today.

The maps, which range in scale from 1:200,000 right down to 1:50,000 have been produced by researchers at the Institute for Geodesy and Geoinformation Science, Technische Universität, Berlin, and the Freie Universität, Berlin.

The researchers say the HRSC experiment will eventually collect enough images of the Martian surface for them to create contour maps for the entire planet. Working at a 1:200,000 scale, it would take 10,372 individual maps sheets to detail the whole planet. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.