Tuesday, 1 March 2016

here there be robots

I am pouring over this highly detailed map of the topography of Mars, deftly executed by hand by the graphic artist Eleanor Lutz, in the style of late Middle Ages surveyors—like the Mappa Mundi of Hereford Cathedral.
“Here there be robots” refers to the landing sites (or ranges) for the various probes sent to explore the Red Planet, echoing the phrases “here there be Dragons” (hic sunt dracones—which only appears once and on a globe) or the more common “here there be Tygers” and the widespread practise of fulling in terra incognito with sea serpents and other terrible beasts, though the surface of Mars seems to be a place relatively accessible to us. The map even includes histories on the place names and a table of geographic terrestrial equivalents, off-world features generally taking Latin nomenclature.