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article imageMars One and Uwingu join in launching Mars Crater Naming Project

By Karen Graham     Mar 14, 2014 in Science
Mars One, a not-for-profit foundation working to establish the world's first human settlement on the planet Mars, has partnered with Uwingu, a company with the primary mission of creating a personal connection between the world and space exploration.
To this end, Bas Lansdorp, Mars One Co-Founder and CEO, along with Uwingu founder and CEO Dr. Alan Stern, a planetary scientist and the former head of NASA’s science program, announced a landmark partnership earlier this month. Mars One will utilize a soon-to-be-developed Uwingu Mars map in all its missions, as well as land the map on Mars on its first unmanned Mars lander.
Uwingu has launched its Mars Crater Naming Project, giving people worldwide the opportunity to name one of the 500,000 scientifically identified craters on Mars by the end of 2014. This goal fits right in with Uwingu's mission: engaging the public in Mars exploration and generating a funding for private space related projects in the field of space exploration, space research, or space education.
Mars One's Bas Lansdorp said: “We’re very enthusiastic about the partnership with Uwingu. Like Mars One, Uwingu gives everyone around the world the opportunity to participate in Mars exploration. The name you choose will go down in history, traveling to Mars on board our 2018 lander and will be used by our future astronauts. What an amazing opportunity!”
Uwingu founder Dr. Alan Stern, commenting on the Mars One-Uwingu partnership said: “This partnership catapults Uwingu’s Mars crater naming database and Mars maps into the forefront of private Mars exploration! Every person who names craters on Mars at will now know that their crater names are planned to be used in the exploration and hoped for permanent settlement of Mars. At Uwingu, we are very excited about actually flying our map to Mars in 2018.”
Mars Crater Naming Project
It is really quite easy for the public to get involved in the Mars Crater Naming Project. And there are still many craters available. Remember this is a fund-raising project, but one that is reasonable in price. To name a crater, all one has to do is go to the Uwingu website (, and get started. Not only can you name a crater, but you can also help name the map grid rectangles of all the Districts and Provinces in the address system, the first ever address system for Mars.
Web shot of the interactive Mars Map on the Uwingo website. The very smallest craters will cost $5.0...
Web shot of the interactive Mars Map on the Uwingo website. The very smallest craters will cost $5.00, while a very large crater will run $500.00
Over the past 50 years, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named about 15,000 features on Mars. All of the names have been of the different features have been "grandfathered" onto the Uwingu map.While the public will be using the map now, it is anticipated that scientists and space missions to Mars will be using it in the future.
As of the start of the Mars Crater Naming Project, over 7,000 crater name purchases have been made on Uwingu’s Mars map, about half the number of crater names made by committee naming processes over the entire past 50 years. That means there are only 443,000 craters left without a name. This writer plans to name one, and this would be a great school or club project, too.
Purchases of crater names have come from 78 countries, with over half of all the purchases being made outside the United States. Purchases have been logged from six continents—only Antarctic has not yet posted a purchase, but that will surely come soon.
The really exciting thing about naming a crater, either as a personal, or family name is that there is no approval process. Profanity, pejorative, or otherwise offensive names will be removed, of course. But it is fully expected that everyone will see Uwingu craters popping up on Wikipedia, other Mars maps, and in social media.
More about mars one, Mars, Meteorite crater, Space exploration, public support
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