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Mapping Frontiers

The science of cartography has come a long way over the centuries, from the caricatured coastlines of antiquity to the highly-detailed satellite images of today. We know our terrestrial boundaries very well, and until all the polar ice melts and raises sea levels, mapmakers are busy looking elsewhere. Greg Laden explores the magma chamber beneath Yellowstone, which was modelled by observing the transmission of shock waves through the earth’s crust. Greg explains, “This sonar-like approach allows the mapping of underground three-dimensional structure,” and he has the pictures to prove it. On Starts With a Bang, Ethan Siegel marvels at a new map of the moon created by the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter, wherein each linear pixel equates to only 145 meters. If you get lost exploring the lunar wastes, don’t panic, just refresh your browser window and start again.