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The University of Wales Press contributes to a publication from an active NASA mission which highlights the Welsh language

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 including 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 have been selected for the publication, resulting in a unique volume produced from an active NASA mission.

As well as Welsh-language captions, the project also includes passages from Welsh poetry and quotations from a number of titles in the University of Wales Press’s (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 of Wales and the Welsh people on behalf of the University of Arizona and the project. In return, UWP presented a copy of the 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 HiRISE can be found on 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