Monday, July 20, 2009

Ibn Battuta and Mars

An advisee of mine at Hampshire College (Lindsay Barbieri) is working this summer at Brown University mapping Martian gullies and looking at their geology - a fantastic project. She pointed me to the Ibn Battuta Center that is also working on Mars. I think its very cool that this center has equated planetary exploration with this remarkable 14th century Moroccan journey man who traveled for 30 years. Here is the wiki entry for Ibn Battuta. But in relation to Mars, here is the description of the Ibn Battuta Center:

The main aim of the Ibn Battuta Centre for exploration and field activities is to support the exploration of Mars and others planets, and to provide opportunities for scientists and the public for experiencing the exploration on Earth and in the Solar System.

The Ibn Battuta Centre for exploration and field activities was established in 2006 by the International Research School of Planetary Sciences (Pescara, Italy) to prepare and execute tests of rovers, landing systems, instruments and operations related to the exploration of Mars and Moon. The Centre has a major partner, the Universite’ Cadi Ayyad of Marrakech (Morocco) where it is located.

Although the main aim of the Ibn Battuta Centre is to develop tests for the Martian and planetary exploration, it is also organising several activities such as field courses for students and professionals, summer schools, field trips and expeditions. These activities are linked to the research on terrestrial analogues of Mars and to the geological sciences. The Centre is strongly based on the field activity and devoted to the scientific studies and applications in planetology and geology.

The Centre is named after the famous Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta (born in Tangier on 24th February 1304 – 703 Hijra) who explored a large part of Northern Africa and Asia. During his travels Ibn Battuta visited almost the entire Muslim world and travelled more than 120,000 kilometres.

I don't know much about the center - but it looks interesting. You can find out more information here. And if you are interested in Ibn Battuta, check out the first part of this documentary, The Journey of Ibn Battuta:


Anonymous said...

Do you know Tim Mackintosh-Smith's books on his attempt to retrace Ibn Battuta's travels? I think they're very good. The first one is "Travels With A Tangerine"

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