astrobiology, celestial cartography, geography, geology, maps, planetary mapping, spacial reasoning
Scientists interested in the study of life in the context of the cosmos have limited resources to dedicate to missions. The use of these resources can be made more effective by applying spatial reasoning to projects. If you were to collect data on Earth with the hope of finding life, you probably would not search the Sahara Desert first. You could search the Pacific, but even given the bounty of life in our planet’s waters there would be significant difficulties asosciated with landing in the middle of the ocean. Accordingly, astrobiologists use the discipline of geography to inform their search, a dicipline with a rich history of visualizing data about the universe. This essay will discuss that history, address the spatial reasoning involved in more current projects at NASA, and inquire into breaking applications for astrobiologists extending farther than our own solar system.
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