This Is Mars offers a previously unseen vision of the red planet. Located somewhere between art and science, the book brings together for the first time a series of panoramic images recently sent back by the U.S. observation satellite MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter). Since its arrival in orbit in 2006, MRO and its HiRISE telescope have been mapping Mars’s surface in a series of exceptionally detailed images that reveal all the beauty of this legendary planet. 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. The search for traces of water also uncovers vast stretches of carbonic ice at the planet’s poles.
Seamlessly compiled by French publisher, designer, and editor Xavier Barral, these extraordinary images are accompanied by an introduction by research scientist Alfred S. McEwen, principle investigator on the HiRISE telescope; an essay by astrophysicist Francis Rocard, who explains the story of Mars’s origins and its evolution; and a timeline by geophysicist Nicolas Mangold, who unveils geological secrets of this fascinating planet.