There are 500,000 unnamed craters on Mars and you know how nature abhors a vacuum — which explains that sucking noise coming from your wallet. For as little as $5 Uwingu.com is offering people the opportunity to “name features on a Mars map that will become landmarks to future explorers!”
All existing Mars crater names, including IAU names, have been grandfathered into the Uwingu Mars map. Prices for newly named small craters begin at just five dollars, and increase with crater size. Give it a try!
And these are officially-recognized names? Um, actually, no.
How will our Uwingu Mars feature names be used? They’ll be used by anyone using Uwingu’s Mars maps. For now that’s just the public, but soon, we hope, scientists and space missions to Mars will be using these maps too.
Basically what you get is a downloadable certificate and a spot on Uwingu’s internet-accessible name map. I suppose this racket is simply an updated version of the International Star Registry’s “Name-A-Star” business that’s been with us since 1979.
And you can see Uwingu’s owners are keeping pace with the latest developments in astronomy — because they’ll also let you name an exoplanet for $4.99.
[Thanks to Morris Keesan for the story.]