After years of naming landmarks on the Red Planet by themselves, space mission rover teams now wants the public to get involved in Mars exploration much the same way.
Through Uwingu's redesigned website at http://www.uwingu.com, now anyone can help to create 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 10 million dollars 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.