Willkommen! HiRISE is now avaialable in German

HiRISE, the high resolution camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet, has now added German to its language list of translated captions.

“The HiTranslate Project continues to expand to reach more people, ” said HiRISE media coordinator Ari Espinoza. “We’re very excited about this newest addition to our site, and hope it will spur interest from other German speakers to participate and learn about Mars.”

The HiTranslate Project is an effort that recruits volunteers to help translate captioned images into as many languages as possible, bringing Mars to people with little-to-no English skills. The project is now in its third year, and has grown to include hundreds of translated images in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, French, Dutch and Arabic.

Christian Velten Christian Velten a third-year physics undergraduate at RWTH Aachen University, Germany, said: “From big galaxy clusters to properties of little planets orbiting stars, space has always been as fascination for me. So working on Mars and its many complex features seemed to be an amazing opportunity offered by the HiTranslate Project. Since my field of study is (nuclear) physics instead of geology or geography, the HiTranslate Project is way more than just translating captions into German. With every new caption I learn some interesting new facts about Mars and our very own Earth. I also realize how easy it is to understand the English raw material, but how hard it is to find the exact translation. So providing translations hopefully results in more easy-to-understand material which itself might lead to more acceptance in our society why this research is so important and that it is worth spending money on.”

Velten added: “This is why the novel approach done by HiRISE is important and should be adopted by other groups in different areas of research in the future.”

Ruth Ziethe Volunteer Ruth Ziethe, of the University of Bern, said: “HiRISE is an important experiment to enhance our understanding of processes on the Martian surface. Since manned missions to Mars with reasonable science return remain in the future, pictures with very high resolution are an excellent way to observe our neighboring planet closely. Eventually this leads to a better understanding of processes on our home planet. Being a planetary scientist myself, I mostly argue that understanding Earth requires us to reach out to other planets and find out what is common among them and what is special. Already, HiRISE has lead to a much better understanding of Mars itself. Making these findings and results available for more people than just planetary scientists requires the information to be transmitted in several languages. Only understandable information will eventually fascinate the public with little or no knowledge of English. I feel honoured to be a part of this project.”

Alexander Vorbau Volunteer Alexander Vorbau: “In my childhood I was very fascinated by space. My interest started in 1994 as Shoemaker Levy 9 struck Jupiter. I was thrilled and saved up money to buy a 4.5-inch reflecting telescope. It was fascinating what I could discover with it: Saturn’s rings, strips of Jupiter, cloud formations on Venus, the Messier objects, etc. The space topic has never left me completely, and over the years I have been following the media coverage about Sojourner, Curiosity and so on. How did I come to HiRISE? I read about it on Twitter. I am very pleased about the opportunity to become a little part of a project like HiRISE.”

The last volunteer is K.-Michael Aye, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

In addition to the captions, HiRISE is making audio, video, slides and tabloid-sized flyers also available in German. These materials can be utilized in a classroom setting, or by interested people making a presentation about Mars. The new site also has an RSS and Twitter feed in German, as well as a dedicated YouTube channel for HiClips (audio and video).

For more information about how to participate, contact the HiTranslate Project.

About HiRISE
The HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is the most powerful one of its kind ever sent to another planet. Its high resolution allows us to see Mars like never before, and helps other missions choose a safe spot to land for future exploration.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and is operated by the University of Arizona.