Cartography is both art and science. The two have arguably never been more evident than in these color planetary maps by SPL/Barcroft Media that double as works of abstract art.

The extraterrestrial images feature representations of data collected from telescopes and on various space missions. While the images may appear more like abstract art than maps, there is scientific method to the colorful madness.

Geological map of the moon by SPL/Barcroft Media.

The colors in each map represent different geological features and reflectivity on the surface of various moons and planets in our solar system.

The more dimpled or dotted the moon or a planet’s surface is with craters, mountains or volcanoes, the more colorful the maps appear. It is said that space is the last frontier, with that map lovers and artists alike can look forward to future space exhibitions and the charting of new territories.

Map of the Tolstoj quadrant on Mercury by SPL / Barcroft Media.
Map of the western region of Mars by SPL/Barcroft Media.

You can view more planetary maps here.