Oxford University Press Announces the Place of the Year 2012

Dec 03, 2012, 07:00 ET from Oxford University Press

NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It's a city! It's a state! It's a country! No – it's a planet! Breaking with tradition, Oxford University Press has selected Mars as the Place of the Year 2012. 

Mars, visible to the naked eye, has fascinated and intrigued for centuries but only in the past 50 years has space exploration allowed scientists to better understand the red planet.  On August 6, 2012, NASA's Curiosity Rover landed on Mars' Gale Crater; by transmitting its research back to Earth, Curiosity has made Mars a little less alien.  Today, NASA is expected to make a possibly Mars-shattering announcement at the conference of the American Geophysical Union.  With an eye to the future of scientific exploration, OUP has chosen Mars in celebration of the place that has kept Earthlings excited and engaged this year. 

Mars joins Kosovo, South Africa, Yemen, Greenland's Warming Island and South Sudan as an Oxford Place of the Year.  The Oxford University Press annual Place of the Year coincides with its publication of Atlas of the World—the only atlas published annually—now in its 19th Edition.

Quick Facts about Mars:

Population: 0
Equatorial diameter: 6,792 km
Moons: Phobos and Deimos
Orbital period: 686.980 days
Sol = a solar day on Mars (24 hours 37 minutes)
Mean distance from the sun: 227.9 million km
Surface: the landscape is a dusty, red, eroded lava plain. Mars has white polar caps (water ice and frozen carbon dioxide) that advance and retreat with the seasons
Average Temperature: -60 degrees Celsius
Atmosphere: 95% carbon dioxide, 2.7% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, 0.1% oxygen, 0.1% carbon monoxide, and small variable traces of water vapour
Highest point: Olympus Mons, 22 km or 14 mi long, making it the tallest mountain in the Solar System

Finalists for Oxford's 2012 Place of the Year:                                    

London, UK



Istanbul, Turkey

CERN, Switzerland

Myanmar (Burma)

Arctic Circle

Calabasas, CA

Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

Check in at http://blog.oup.com/index.php?s=poty for more coverage on Mars.  Throughout the week, we'll look at Mars through the lenses of geology, science-fiction, and much more. We invite your comments and hope that you continue to stay curious!

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SOURCE Oxford University Press