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You Can Now Plot THE MARTIAN’s Trek with NASA’s Help

During the same panel where we found out that both the film and the book rights for Andy Weir’s The Martian were bought within four days of each other, Jim Green, the director of planetary science at NASA, outlined our real plan to get to Mars. Part of that plan involved sitting astronauts atop 3,500,000 pounds of thrust, the other involves making sure the public is on board (figuratively speaking).

To that end, NASA now has Mars Trek, an interactive, detailed map of Mars that can show you everything from the landing sites of rovers to the tallest mountain in the solar system. You can also draw lines all over the map, which automatically calculate distances and elevations.

Jim Green assured those at the panel Thursday that The Martian protagonist Mark Watney’s journey would soon be searchable for fans of the novel. But I couldn’t wait. Using fan-made maps [spoilers] along with the insert from the novel, I (roughly) charted the course for the eminently resourceful astronaut using Mars Trek below.

[Note: If you don’t want any spoilers for The Martian, the maps below will give some plot points away. And if you haven’t read the book, do it.]

MarsTrek_1Watney’s journey. Click to enlarge.

Above is the general outline for Watney’s trek across the Red Planet, from its starting point in Acidalia Planitia to its end in Schiaparelli crater.

MarsTrek_2Watney finds a way to communicate. Click to enlarge.

The main path remains the same, but the line on the left in the photo above shows Watney’s critical detour to the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft and Sojourner rover.

MarsTrek_3Watney’s Triangle. Click to enlarge.

The trek continues as Mark establishes “Watney’s Triangle” in between the Rutherford, Trouvelot, and Marth craters.

MarsTrek_4The journey ends. Click to enlarge.

Finally, Watney’s long, lonely mission across the surface of Mars ends in the Schiaparelli crater. As the Martian crow flies, the astronaut covered over 3,000 kilometers of the planet. Like driving from New York to Denver…while living in a van-sized rover that smells like poop for weeks.

HT: NASA Mars Trek

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