See the red planet in a whole new way.
Sending humans to Mars finally feels within reach. As NASA announced, it hopes to send the first astronauts to the red planet sometime in the 2030s, meaning we could see the first footprints on another planet within the next two decades. But for now, we will simply have to settle for looking at a few stunning photographs in the new photo book “This Is Mars.”
The book, edited by French designer and publisher Xavier Barral, shares 150 breathtaking black-and-white photographs compiled from a map created by the U.S. observation satellite, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO. As the Creator’s Project explained, the map was then broken down into thousands of gigabytes to find the perfect images.
“Conceived as a visual atlas, the book takes the reader on a fantastic voyage—plummeting into the breathtaking depths of the Velles Marineris canyons; floating over the black dunes of Noachis Terra; and soaring to the highest peak in our solar system, the Olympus Mons volcano,” according to the description. “The search for traces of water also uncovers vast stretches of carbonic ice at the planet’s poles.”
Along with the photos, the book also contains a short essay by HiRISE principal investigator Alfred McEwen, which provides facts about the camera, according to Planetary Society. In addition to the fact sheet, Francis Rocard also wrote "A Geology of Excess" for the book, which explains the natural history of Mars and helps readers interpret each of the images. Check out a few of the images to explore our closest planetary neighbor for yourself.