Astronomers: No, You Can't Name Mars Craters
IAU won't recognize paid-for names
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2014 12:11 AM CDT
Mars' Gale Crater, one of the thousand or so named craters on the planet.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – A plan to raise money by selling the names of Mars' craters has hit a snag: the organization in charge of naming craters on Mars and most other features in our solar system. The International Astronomical Union says Uwingu—a commercial venture that aims to raise money for space research—has no right to name astronomical objects and the 7,000 names that have been sold over the last 10 days will not be recognized, reports, which notes that the IAU's naming process is a lengthy one, with only a thousand of the half-million or so craters on Mars named over the last 50 years.

"Such initiatives go against the spirit of free and equal access to space, as well as against internationally recognized standards," the IAU explained. "Hence no purchased names can ever be used on official maps and globes." The co-founder of Uwingu fired back at the IAU. The body needs to "stop being the self-licking ice cream cone of the scientific community, and recognize that as long as its existence is merely to gratify its own puritanical principles and sense of elitism, it is not going to be a part of the next wave of space exploration," he tells NBC. The company says it hopes to raise $10 million this year by selling crater names for prices ranging from $5 to $5,000, depending on the size.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Mar 13, 2014 12:40 AM CDT
Wow...for $4,999, there is a bridge in Brooklyn that needs a better name....
Mar 12, 2014 11:33 PM CDT
Anybody who would pay $5,000 to claim naming rights to a crater on Mars should name it "Phucked", because that is definitely what they got. A big fat swollen sphincter.
Mar 12, 2014 8:40 PM CDT
Why was it acceptable to sell the naming of Moon craters? Why was it acceptable to sell the naming of entire STARS?!