Planet Trek:

Mapping New Worlds


Part III: Concept Application: Mapping

Activity # 5 - Mapping Planetary Features

Now that you are familiar with the latitude and longitude coordinate grid system, it's time to construct a map. When making a map cartographers use symbols to represent surface features. The USGS Mapping Center has established a number of map symbols to represent features found on the planets and moons of our solar system. Some of these are shown here.

In order to construct a map, you find the location of a specific surface feature using the latitude and longitude. At that position you should make the correct mark to indicate the type of feature you are identifying. As a map maker, you can choose any symbol to represent specific features, however you must provide a key to interpreting your map that explains what your symbols mean. This is called the "legend."

To complete this activity you will need to print out the linked MAP GRID for mapping Lunar features. Remember that maps of the Moon use a longitude system of 180 degrees west and 180 degrees east.

For this activity, you will be locating the features shown below on the map grid and using the USGS symbols indicated to represent selected features. Write the name of each feature beside its symbol. Be sure to fill in the map legend to show the symbols you used on your map.

Craters
Rimae
Vallis
Rupes

Name

Lat

Lon

Copernicus

10N

20 W

Kirchhoff

30N

39E

Plato

52N

9W

Tycho

43S

11W

Name

Lat

Lon

Dawes

18N

27E

Euler

21N

31W

Hesiodus

30N

20W

Messier

1S

45E

Name

Lat

Lon

Bohr

12N

87W

Capella

8S

35E

Planck

58S

126E

Schrodinger

26N

51W

Name

Lat

Lon

Altai

24S

23E

Cauchy

9N

37E

Kelvin

27S

33W

Liebig

25S

46W

After completing your map, you may want to add other features. You can access the USGS LUNAR FEATURES site to find more features. If you want to see what each of these features looks like, you can use the USGS LUNAR IMAGES site to access an image of each one. To check your work for the answers to the mapping exercise above, look at the ANSWER KEY. You will notice that most of these features are near the prime meridian. This is because the Moon is in geosynchronous orbit and the same side always faces the Earth. We know more about this side of the Moon, because we have been studying it longer!

You can map features on other worlds, too, using USGS and other NASA sites. To do this, you will need a grid with 360 degrees longitude. Remember, that all worlds other than the Earth and Moon use a 360 degree longitude system. A 360 DEGREE MAP is linked.

Now that you've mapped surface features on the Moon, it's time to discover your own world!


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