The Great Desert: Geology and Life on Mars and in the Southwest


To Hemispheres

A workshop participant noted that it was difficult to find many kinds of maps of Mars, and impossible to find them in a consistent format. So, here's an possible solution. On this page are maps of general properties of Mars in Mercator projections, in consistent sizes and format. Clicking on the thumbnail image of each map will call up a map at ~ 2 pixels per degree, a rapid download. Each caption has links to whatever higher-resolution images are available so far, generally at 4 or 8 pixels per degree. These are best recovered by a "save link target as" command/click. Links in the caption will also lead you to original image sources, larger maps, and maps of smaller areas (if available). On the following page are other projections, mostly of interesting hemispheres.

This mosaiced image of Mars is from the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The image is visual brighness, how Mars would appear to the eye, through a red filter. The mosaic is from a short time in 1999, when there was a significant dust storm in Hellas (brigh spot on right side near bottom). There is no data from the south pole, because it was in total darkness at the time - Mars' north pole was pointed towards the sun. Larger versions of this image are available at 4 pixels per degrees (0.6 Mbyte) and 8 pixels per degree (1.9 Mbyte). Much larger scale images are available from the images' source at Malin Space Science Systems, Inc. Credit.
The MOLA laser altimeter produced detailed topographic maps and profiles of Mars, and really revolutionized our understanding of Mars. So much from elevation alone! These maps show the MOLA altitude data coded into colors - blue is low and red/white are high. The basins and volcanos show very clearly. Larger version of this are available at 4 pixels per degree (1.2 Mbyte) and 8 pixels per degree (3.9 Mbyte). A very high resolution color topo map is available, as are: a lower-res global map with annotated locations; elevations for sub-regions of Mars, and detailed topo maps are available for some specific locations. The value of high-resolution topo data is demonstrated here. Credit.
Here, the MOLA altimetry is cast as a 3-D model, a shaded relief map illuminated from the upper right. This lighting can not ever happen on Mars! The large volcanos stand out beautifully, as do the impact basins of Hellas and Argyre. Also clear here is how flat the northern plains really are (remnants of an ocean basin?), the incredible number of craters on the highlands, and the distinct difference in elelvations between the highlands and the lowlands. Larger version of this are available at 4 pixels per degree (0.9 Mbyte) and 8 pixels per degree (3.4 Mbyte). High resolution shaded quadrangle maps can be found here, and a shaded relief projection of the Argyre basin here. Credit.
A neutron spectrometer on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft measures the abundances of neutrons of various energies emitted from Mars' surface. The ratio of low- to high-energy neutrons is a sensitive test of water abundances within a meter of Mars' surface. There is LOTS of water. No one had expected any where near this much water near the Martian surface. This is described in a press release from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of the neutron spectrometer and the scientists who run it. Polar regions are shown on the next page. A larger version of this image, 4 degrees per pixel (0.8 Mbyte) is available. Credit.
The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft carries a magnetometer, the MAG/ER. During MGS's aerobraking, the MAG/ER found that Mars does not have a global magnetic field like the Earth does, but large areas are strongly magnetic. There are few good ideas of what this magnetism means, although plate tectonic processes do not seem likely. The area of magnetic anomalies seems to make a girdle around Mars, and this is (at least partly) because that's where MGS's orbit took it closest to Mars during aerobraking. A larger version of this image, 4 degrees per pixel (0.8 Mbyte) is available. Credit.

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Copyright Allan Treiman, LPI.
Updated 10/01/03.
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