Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Strip Map of Mars

In 1675 John Ogilby published Britannia, a series of strip maps of roads in England and Wales. In 2019 the New York Times also published a strip map. Only this strip map shows the journey of a robot on Mars.

On Wednesday NASA announced that the Mars Opportunity rover was no longer working. In June Opportunity went into hibernation during a dust storm on Mars. It was hoped that after the atmosphere cleared Opportunity would reboot and continue working. However after months of waiting yesterday NASA announced that the Opportunity mission was over.

The NYT's NASA’s Opportunity Rover Dies on Mars includes a fantastic strip map which allows you to follow the journey of the Mars rover from its landing in Eagle Crater in 2014 to its final resting place in Perseverance Valley. As you scroll down on the NYT visualization you follow Opportunity's path using fantastic satellite imagery of the red planet. You can explore the 28 miles that Opportunity traveled in a few seconds. Opportunity took 5,111 Martian days to travel that distance. It is definitely worth taking a few minutes yourself to explore the wonderful aerial imagery in the NYT's strip map of Opportunity's exploration of Mars.

Some other examples of interactive strip maps include Propublica's Killing the Colorado, a journey down the endangered Colorado river, and the New York Times' A Rogue State Along Two Rivers. A Rogue State Along Two Rivers explores the rise of ISIS by following the paths of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

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