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IAU To Uwingu: You Can't Name That Martian Crater Either 125

RocketAcademy writes "The International Astronomical Union has thrown a tantrum over a plan to crowdsource names for craters on Mars. The IAU gives official scientific names to craters, but it has only bothered with craters that have 'scientific significance.' The science-funding platform Uwingu has launched a campaign to come up with popular names for the remaining craters. For as little as $5, a member of the public can name one of the craters on Uwingu's map, with the proceeds going to fund space science and education. This caused the IAU to issue a statement condemning such crowdsourcing efforts. The IAU pointed out that it did allow the public to vote on names for two of Pluto's moons, in the past. In that case, however, the IAU rejected the winning name (Vulcan)." Last year, the IAU got into a spat with Uwingu over naming exoplanets. Sounds like the old name a star scam, on Mars.
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IAU To Uwingu: You Can't Name That Martian Crater Either

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  • by sinequonon ( 669533 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @10:24AM (#46463575)
    The reason why the IAU is the body that gets to name celestial objects is international recognition. If every country used its own naming scheme, pretty soon the scientific communication would become a complete muddle.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @10:48AM (#46463847) Journal
    You can name whatever you like whatever you want. No muss, no fuss, no red tape, no nothing.

    Achieving a name recognized by somebody other than you is a somewhat more complex problem, usually requiring a certain amount of give-and-take in terms of "I'll accept your stupid idea if you endure mine" type arrangements.

    For all the histrionics about it, Nobody was somehow magically anointed the Super Name Czar by some magically authoritative process. Some organizations have their shit together, and any names in a given domain not endorsed by them are pretty much just private nicknames, some don't; but that's it.
  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @10:58AM (#46463959)

    Who's going to know what they were named a thousand years from now, and how many times will those names be changed by people yet to be born

    Outside of America it's pretty common to live in places named thousands of years ago.

  • "Tantrum"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @11:00AM (#46463977)

    Even by the dry standards of academic discourse this is pretty meek:

    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 standards. 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.

  • by rioki ( 1328185 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @11:13AM (#46464179) Homepage

    So? Who gave the IAU the authority? What legal power do they have? I can create my own list of names for planetary bodies. If I get most people to use my list instead of the IAU's, what id going to happen? Nothing.

    Btw, I am currently accepting bids for this solar systems' planets. Get them while they are cheap.

  • by hendrips ( 2722525 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @11:15AM (#46464211)

    Even in the U.S. it is possible to find place names (nearly) that old. American Indian names that are still in use are not hard to find, although the pronunciation tends to be corrupted.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings