Geoscience Professor’s Atlas of Mars Wins National Book Award

Posted on 4/8/2020 2:09:41 PM

The Atlas of Mars: Mapping its Geography and Geology, co-written by Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Kenneth Coles with Kenneth Tanaka (United States Geological Survey's Astrogeology team) and Philip Christensen (Arizona State University), has won a national book award from the Association of American Publishers.

Ken Coles in the IUP Planetarium holding the Atlas of Mars The book is the 2020 winner of the PROSE award in the cosmology and astronomy category. 

The PROSE Awards recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content. A panel of judges from across the publishing industry, from publishers to librarians to medical professionals, volunteer their time and expertise to determine PROSE subject category winners.

“This is great honor for Dr. Coles and his co-authors,” Deanne Snavely, dean of the IUP John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Science and Mathematics, said. “The atlas reflects years of painstaking work, and it’s wonderful to see his efforts rewarded in this fashion.”

The atlas updates NASA’s 1979 atlas of the planet.

Coles, a Geoscience faculty member, worked with Tanaka and Christensen for the past eight years to create the publication. The book is designed for a broad audience and reflects new information and knowledge about Mars. It has a special focus on geology, including how the environment has changed over the history of Mars.

“While some of this will be of use to active Mars researchers, we particularly hope to reach other readers: scientists from other fields, interested non-scientists, and persons who wonder what all the missions to Mars have told us,” the authors write in the preface of the book.

Published by Cambridge University Press, the atlas covers Mars in 30 charts, each with a topographic map; a daytime infrared map based on images from the THEMIS camera on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft; a geologic map of the corresponding area; and a section describing prominent features of interest. The atlas also includes information on Mars’ global characteristics, regional geography and geology, a glossary of terms, and an index of Martian feature names and nomenclature. It also has a web page offering extra materials.