Making Mars Speak Human

Posted on 15 September 2017
Ari Espinoza and Natalie Williams, Director of UWP

Ari Espinoza and Natalie Williams, Director of UWP

With artistic shots of actively eroding slopes, impact craters, strange polar landscapes, avalanches, and spectacular descent pictures of probes like the Phoenix Lander and the Mars Science Laboratory, a new publication by the University of Arizona Press invites the reader on a visual journey across the surface of Mars.

Mars: The Pristine Beauty of the Red Planet features close to 200 carefully selected photographs taken by the University of Arizona-led HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera which has been orbiting Mars on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter since 2006. Alongside each detailed image are explanatory captions in 24 different languages, amongst them Welsh.

The publication was compiled and authored by Alfred McEwen, principal investigator of the HiRISE project, Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, deputy principal investigator of HiRISE, and Ari Espinoza, outreach coordinator for HiRISE, and was born out of The BeautifulMars Project which aimed to promote the idea that knowledge about Mars belongs to everyone.

As part of the project, volunteers from around the world translate captions into 24 languages for the thousands of images captured by the camera, the most powerful and high-resolution camera ever sent to another planet, making this the only NASA resource to feature the Welsh language. Some of these images were then selected for the publication resulting in a unique volume produced from an active NASA mission. 

As well as Welsh language captions, the publication also features quotes from Welsh poets and quotes from a number of publications in the University of Wales Press’ (UWP) ‘Writers of Wales’ series.

To help promote the project and celebrate the first ever publication from an active NASA mission to highlight the Welsh language, co-author Ari Espinoza visited Wales and met with UWP Staff to donate a copy of the publication to the University and people of Wales on behalf of the University of Arizona and the project. In return, the University presented him with a copy of the University’s Encyclopaedia of Wales. During his time in Wales, Ari also took part in the Swansea Science Festival and visited Whitchurch High School in Cardiff where he spoke to GCSE and A-Level students.

Speaking about the project, and the inclusion of the Welsh language, Ari said:

“It is our pleasure to have the language of Heaven now used to describe something in the Heavens.”

In the spirit of ‘the people's camera at Mars’, all images beamed back to Earth are published on the HiRISE website. There is also a twitter feed for the camera on this NASA mission which has a Welsh language version - @HiRISEWelsh

More information about The BeautifulMars Project and the HiRISE can be found their website - https://www.uahirise.org/epo/

The publication Mars: The Pristine Beauty of the Red Planet is available at bookstores and online - http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid2683.htm

/ENDS

For more information on the University of Wales Press, please visit: www.uwp.co.uk
For more information on The University of Wales please visit: www.wales.ac.uk

For press and media information, please contact the University of Wales Communications Team by email: communicationswales.ac.uk

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