Give a Spot on a Mars Map to a Loved One

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in a Special Way

It comes around every year, Valentine’s Day does. And, if you have someone you love who’s a space enthusiast, here’s an idea: buy them a crater on a Mars map. Not only will you look very cool in their eyes, but you’ll be helping fund science education and research. That’s the deal that Uwingu.com is offering for the upcoming lovefest holiday. Find a crater on their Mars map and name it after your loved one, with prices starting at $10.00.

Name a Crater on a Mars Map; Give a Certificate

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Sample Mars crater naming certificate, courtesy Uwingu.com.

Not only do you get to explore the surface of Mars on Uwingu’s map, but once you name the crater, you get a downloadable certificate suitable for framing. If you’re feeling a bit more flush, you can order a framed copy from Uwingu.

Name a Mars Crater; Make an Astronaut, Scientist or Teacher Happy

The idea of naming craters on their Mars map is part of Uwingu’s ongoing project to create the first citizen’s Mars map. There are about 500,000 unnamed features on the planet, the map is already the most complete one in the world More than 20,000 features are named. Not only that, but the maps will be taken to Mars on two private space missions in the future. Mars astronauts will have a lot of work to do, and running around naming craters and features will not be high on their list of things to accomplish. Yet, for communication and logistics purposes, having ready-to-use names will be important. Hence the creation of the maps and the invitation to help name all those features. And, as mentioned above, half of the money you spend goes directly to space research and education grants. It’s a win-win scenario for everybody!

 

 

Looking Back at Earth from Another Planet

Enjoy the View of Earth from Mars

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Two separate exposures of Earth and the Moon, taken on November 20, 2016, by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera.

During the AAS meeting, NASA released an amazing picture of Earth taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter currently studying Mars.  We’ve all seen the “pinpoint in a pink sky” of Earth taken by one of the Mars rovers, but this one is the first to really show us what our home planet looks like from the orbit of Mars. I find it specially poignant to look at because, as Carl Sagan once said about the “pale blue dot” image taken by Voyager from the depths of the solar system, everyone we know, who has ever lived, is on that planet.

It’s really quite a view, when you think about it. In a few decades, it will be the view that human Martians will have, hopefully through a great ground-based telescope near their cities. What will they think about as they spy out the old home planet?  It’s an interesting future to contemplate as the next wave of Martian exploration is being planned to carry humans to Mars.