Beginning today, the public can get involved in Mars exploration much the same way. Through Uwingu’s redesigned web site at www.uwingu.com, now anyone can help to create the Uwingu’s new Mars map, with names for all the approximately 500,000 unnamed but scientifically catalogued craters on Mars.
In almost 50 years of Mars exploration by spacecraft, only about 15,000 features have been named on Mars by scientists and others around the world. Yet over 500,000 Martian craters catalogued from NASA and European space mission imagery remain unnamed. Uwingu is setting a goal of naming all these unnamed Martian craters and completing its new Mars map before 2015—the 50th anniversary year of humankind’s first missions to Mars.
The completed project aims to generate over $10M in funds for space research and education—larger than any other private space grant program in history.
Uwingu’s Mars map grandfathers in all the already named craters on Mars, but opens the remainder up for naming by people around the globe. Unnamed craters in the Mars database range from under a kilometer across to over 350 kilometers (over 200 miles) across. Craters can be named for almost anything or anyone, including friends, family, co-workers, heroes, pets, places on Earth or in space, sports teams, musical artists.
Says Uwingu’s advisor and Mars scientist Dr. Teresa Segura, “This project is truly groundbreaking for public participation in the exploration of Mars. Only imagination limits your choices, and I love that it supports funding for space research and education.”
Prices for naming craters vary, depending on the size of the crater, and begin at $5 dollars.
Uwingu makes a shareable Web link and a naming certificate available to each crater namer for each newly named crater.
“Every crater named on this public Mars map contributes to the Uwingu fund for space research and education”, added Uwingu founder and planetary scientist Dr. Alan Stern, “So name a crater on Mars — and make an impact of your own!”
Uwingu (which means “sky” in Swahili, and is pronounced “oo-‐wing-‐oo”) was formed by a team of leading astronomers, planetary scientists, former space program executives, and educators. The company includes space historian and author Andrew Chaikin, space educator Dr. Emily CoBabe-Ammann, author and former museum science director Dr. David Grinspoon, planet hunter Dr. Geoff Marcy, planetary scientist and aerospace executive Dr. Teresa Segura, planetary scientist and former NASA science director Dr. Alan Stern, planetary scientist and CEO of the Planetary Science Institute, Dr. Mark Sykes, former Executive Director of the Planetary Society Dr. Louis Friedman, and space artists Jon Lomberg and Dan Durda. In 2012, Uwingu successfully concluded one of the 25 largest Indiegogo crowd‐funding campaigns ever to launch an ongoing series of public engagement projects. Visit Uwingu’s web site at www.uwingu.com to learn more and join in the public naming of planets around other stars.