Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Concerns and considerations with the naming of Mars craters

Date:
March 11, 2014
Source:
International Astronomical Union (IAU)
Summary:
Recently initiatives that capitalise on the public’s interest in space and astronomy have proliferated, some putting a price tag on naming space objects and their features, such as Mars craters. The International Astronomical Union would like to emphasize that such initiatives go against the spirit of free and equal access to space, as well as against internationally recognized regulations. Hence no purchased names can ever be used on official maps and globes.

This detailed rendered artist's view of the planet Mars, based on high-resolution spacecraft imaging, reveals some of the many craters that cover much of its surface. Recently initiatives that capitalise on the public’s interest in space and astronomy have proliferated, some putting a price tag on naming space objects and their features, such as Mars craters. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) would like to emphasise that such initiatives go against the spirit of free and equal access to space, as well as against internationally recognised regulations.
Credit: IAU/M. Kornmesser

Recently initiatives that capitalise on the public's interest in space and astronomy have proliferated, some putting a price tag on naming space objects and their features, such as Mars craters. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) would like to emphasise that such initiatives go against the spirit of free and equal access to space, as well as against internationally recognised regulations. Hence no purchased names can ever be used on official maps and globes. The IAU encourages the public to become involved in the naming process of space objects and their features by following the officially recognised (and free) methods.

In order to make sure that all scientists, educators and general public "speak the same language," astronomers from the International Astronomical Union have agreed on common standards for naming space objects, features or phenomena so that they can be easily located, described, and discussed. For instance, features on a given planet or satellite, receive names chosen from a particular theme. Only those features that are deemed to be of significance to science are given a name by the community, thus leaving other features to be named by future generations.

Although the present rules are that the general public cannot request that a particular feature is named, they can do so following a public invitation from a space agency or from the discoverers. This was the case for NASA's Magellan Venus mapping mission launched in 1989, for which the public was invited to offer the names of famous women for various features. A more recent example was the naming of the two most recently discovered satellites of Pluto in 2013, which was the result of a public vote. The selected names were approved in cooperation with the IAU and free and equal participation was offered to the general public. For Mars craters today, only their "discoverers," the space agencies, may take the initiative to involve the public in the naming process, in cooperation with the IAU and following international regulations.

In 1919, when the IAU was founded, it was given the official mission to establish internationally recognised planet and satellite nomenclature. The objective at the time was to standardise the various confusing systems of nomenclature for the Moon that were then in use. Since that time, the IAU has succeeded in constructing a single, reliable, official catalogue of surface feature names, thus enabling successful international public and scientific communication. The IAU played a key role in getting the USSR and the USA to agree on naming rules for lunar features even during the space race of the sixties.

Today, the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN), representing the worldwide astronomical community, provides a unique system of official names for Solar System objects (planetary surface features, natural satellites, dwarf planets, and planetary rings) for the benefit of the international science community, educators, and the general public. To see the existing accepted nomenclature please visit the IAU home page at Naming Astronomical Objects.

The IAU encourages entities wishing to promote space science and exploration to follow these internationally accepted rules and explain them as part of their space education and exploration programmes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by International Astronomical Union (IAU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

International Astronomical Union (IAU). "Concerns and considerations with the naming of Mars craters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140311124021.htm>.
International Astronomical Union (IAU). (2014, March 11). Concerns and considerations with the naming of Mars craters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140311124021.htm
International Astronomical Union (IAU). "Concerns and considerations with the naming of Mars craters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140311124021.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Newsy (July 26, 2014) A bill legalizing "unlocking," or untethering a phone from its default wireless carrier, has passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Newsy (July 26, 2014) An IP address within the House of Representatives was banned from editing Wikipedia articles for 10 days after it made some questionable changes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins