Lonely Planet: Mars

Last year I visited some far off countries and was helped along the way by some Lonely Planet guide books. One thing I thought of one night in New Zealand was the idea of a Lonely Planet guidebook for Mars. OK, Mars doesn't have much in the way of night life or restaurants but it definitely has some potential tourist attractions and amazing sights to see. My plan feels as though it is a step closer now that the European Space Agency's Mars Express has released the first "hiking maps" of Mars. They aren't quite up to the standards of a good Ordnance Survey map yet and they are only on a scale of 1:200,000 wtihout many contours shown, so I won't be using them to plan a walking route just yet. It is a good start though.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Monday 12th Feb 2007 (22:49 GMT) | 6 Comments | Permalink

Comments: Lonely Planet: Mars

That's an interesting idea (and by interesting, I mean "dang it, wish I had thought of that"). If you'd actually like to take that a step further, I help administer http://wiki.seds.org, might be a good place to get a few people to push the idea along. LP-style guides to the moon, Mars, asteroids, etc., would be novelties, maybe even the sort of thing that company would go for. As a hiker/backpacker, I thought extraterrestrial trail guides would be cool; from an educational perspective, it might be easier to understand planetary surfaces if one was thinking from the point of view of the surface, not from orbit.

I don't know. Saw your blog via a friend and thought I'd mention it. Good work, and take care.

Posted by Kirk on Tuesday 13th Feb 2007 (20:05 UTC)

Kirk, now that someone else has said that my idea isn't totally crazy I'm a bit keener on it. I was a bit put off it last year when I looked around the LP website and read their guidelines for the suggestion of new books. From my reading of those, LP don't want ordinary folks (not real travel writers) creating books on new destinations because they like to keep a good style. That is fair enough but I still think it would be cool to have some novelty LP guides to various solar system locations. It is probably unlikely that we would get use of their brand.

Currently, I don't have huge amounts of time to put into something like this. However, using a wiki approach with a few people as you suggest might work for me. I suspect that some of the other astro bloggers might even have fun coming up with some suggested walking routes.

Posted by Stuart on Tuesday 13th Feb 2007 (22:37 UTC)

Yeah, but even if LP won't take it on (and I know some LP editors), you could still produce an independent book (like that Spoof LP style book last year). I think it's a fantastic idea. I call dibbs on writing the canyoning section.

Posted by Ian Musgrave on Wednesday 14th Feb 2007 (13:54 UTC)

Wouldn't LP think about suing if we got anywhere close to their brand?

Legal issues aside, I'm happy for you to do the canyoning Ian ;-) There will be some epic trips! Before I went to sleep last night I thought about having some walks following in the steps of the current robotic hikers on Mars (a trip up Husband Hill etc) - gentle walks without much in the way of steep ascent and plenty of opportunity (sorry for the pun) to stop and admire the blueberries and interesting rock formations.

Posted by Stuart on Wednesday 14th Feb 2007 (15:04 UTC)

It's been done, and done rather well. Check out "A Traveler's Guide to Mars" by William K. Hartmann. He really takes you there, does a marvelous job of describing the landscape, the geological history, conditions that visitors would have to deal with. Although it was written prior to the rover missions, it's very rich and actually gives you the context that makes it easier to appreciate and enjoy what the rovers are exploring. It's one of the best Mars books in my library.

Posted by DeafScribe on Wednesday 14th Feb 2007 (23:09 UTC)

hey, with all the new data. It might be a good time for another try.

Posted by Pradeep on Thursday 15th Feb 2007 (14:35 UTC)


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