Jack Williamson, Roger Zelazny, C.S. Lewis and Fredric Brown recently had features on Mars named after them by officials of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Rover project.
Patricia Rogers of
“The features named for Jack and Roger are on Mitchelltree Ridge near the Columbia Hills,” said
In November 2006,
“He is also one of the folks who get to name features on Mars, especially at the Spirit site,” said
Whether these names, or any others given to Mars’ features by the JPL scientists, will become permanent remains to be seen. As Dr. Tim Parker, a JPL geologist working on the rover mission, explained in a 2004 interview “We give names to features near the rovers for convenience. But it’s important to remember they’re all unofficial.”
The International Astronomical Union is ultimately responsible for naming land features on planets and their moons. For example, the Gazette of Planetary Names explains, large craters, approximately 60 km and larger, are named for deceased scientists who have contributed to the study of Mars; writers and others who have contributed to the lore of Mars.
JPL previously accorded Williamson and Zelazny a less exclusive honor by including their names among over 1 million placed on a microchip aboard the Stardust spacecraft that visited Comet Wild 2 in 2004.