Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

3/12/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

IAU and private firm clash over naming rights.

What do you give to a person who has everything? For some, it could be naming a star, an asteroid , or even a crater on the Moon or Mars after them. While such practices make for novelty gifts, few people care what is written in an unofficial database, except for one "official body" that claims the right to name objects in space all to itself. Now, a recent naming campaign has one private venture and an official astronomer's union clashing.

Uwingu is crossing swords with the IAU over the naming rights to Martian craters.

Uwingu is crossing swords with the IAU over the naming rights to Martian craters.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/12/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Uwingu, Mars One, IAU, astronomers, naming, craters, Mars, Moon, money


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It is every astronomer's dream to be the first to discover an object in space and have it named after themselves. Space objects are much more timeless than earthly monuments and with the future of humanity in space, they could perhaps become major features for millions of people, or so many fantasize.

Yet, who names space objects and why?

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

We love maps. Maps are an important tool for understanding the cosmos, particularly the Moon and Mars which have been imaged in high resolution in anticipation of human missions to both places in the decades to come. The features on those maps need names, so one body, the International Astronomical Union, comprised of astronomers from around the world, claims the right to name otherworldly features, including the craters on both worlds.

However, a commercial startup known as Uwingu, has stepped on the IAU's toes, rather hard, by selling the rights to name Martian craters for anywhere between $5 to $5,000, depending on the size of each. Some can be as small as a few meters across.

The names make for novelty gifts and they money is used to finance science education as well as the Dutch venture, Mars One which plans to put humans on Mars within 20 years financed by various high-profile publicity stunts, including a possible reality show  to choose who will make the one-way trip to Mars.

According to Uwingu, 7,000 craters have been named and the names will be used on official Mars One maps.

This naturally has the Paris-based IAU upset. The IAU has provided the official names for objects in space for over a century and continues to name space objects. Mountains and craters, as well as every other thing in space that can be named falls within their purview. The IAU also demoted the status of Pluto as a planet in 2006 when it became clear that Pluto was just one of several similarly-sized, distant objects ringing the Solar System.

The IAU has criticized Uwingu's pay-to-name a crater on Mars plan saying Tuesday, "Such initiatives go against the spirit of free and equal access to space, as well as against internationally recognized standards. Hence no purchased names can ever be used on official maps and globes."

This prompted Uwingu co-founder, Doug Griffith to issue a scathing reply, "The IAU needs to stop being the self-licking ice cream cone of the scientific community, and recognize that as long as its existence is merely to gratify its own puritanical principles and sense of elitism, it is not going to be a part of the next wave of space exploration. That will be done by others who recognize that science exists for the benefit of the world, not for the scientists," Griffith told NBC in an email.

To be fair, Uwingu also tells potential buyers that their names are unofficial and despite their likely inclusion on Mars One maps, they might not be used in the future.

And there's no reason to think the IAU's names will be accepted either.

Eventually, people who end up near these features will name them whatever they like. Just as today, people who live in a community name features around them in spite of official names, people of tomorrow will do the same. The colonizers of the Moon and Mars will probably have little regard for the IAU and other agencies that claim rights to label things that are merely objects on a map for earthbound scientists, but a daily reality for future colonizers.

For their part, NASA and other various space agencies will continue using  official IAU names. However, given the fiscal and political reality of space travel, it's difficult to say if it will be NASA or a private agency, such as Mars One, that will actually make it there first, and that fact may have a lot of bearing on the outcome of the current debate.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find-even within the huge cities of the world-opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More Technology

Ready to battle in Pokemon GO? Here's a beginners guide Watch

Image of Pokmon battles can only take place in Pokmon gyms (Pokmon GO).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

You've walked around town collecting Pokémon and you finally reached level 5. Congratulations! You can join a team and enter Pokémon battles! Need some help? Come read our guide. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pokémon battles in Pokémon GO aren't quite the ... continue reading


Deal with the devil? Pokemon Go has a scary clause you should know about Watch

Image of Pokemon Go contains a strict clause you need to know about.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Play Pokemon Go and you could be making a deal with the devil. At least, from a legal perspective. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - An onerous clause in the Pokemon Go terms and conditions is gaining attention as players are informed they are surrendering key ... continue reading


Live-streaming has changed the world Watch

Image of Live-streaming holds the world accountable (ThinkStock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Citizens now have access to more journalism tools than ever before - but is it a good thing? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The world was shocked when Diamond Reynolds used her smartphone to live-stream the aftermath of her boyfriend, Philandro Castile, being shot ... continue reading


End of farm labor - Aussie robot can herd cattle while robot in England harvests crops Watch

Image of Robots for farms are under intense development.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Robots that can herd cattle and harvest crops are being rolled out for tests in England and Australia. The development of these machines promises to transform the agriculture industry. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - One robot can herd cattle and pull a small ... continue reading


Juno beams back first image from Jupiter - what's to come is exciting! Watch

Image of Juno has arrived at Jupiter and will begin taking high resolution images in the next couple months.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Juno has arrived at Jupiter and the first images have been beamed back to Earth. The images are in low resolution and scientists say high resolution images are a few weeks away. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Juno spacecraft has arrived at Jupiter. The ... continue reading


Scientists sure water is flowing on Mars, seek to prove it with rover Watch

Image of Scientists are thirsty to find proof of water on Mars.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists want to take a closer look at mysterious features that suggest water flows on Mars. If water flows on the surface of Mars, then life could flourish there. All life as we know it depends on liquid water. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Scientists have ... continue reading


Scientists make surprising claim about origin of the universe! Watch

Image of Scientists cannot escape the reality that the universe needs a Creator.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A new theory has scientists rethinking the Big Bang. Could the Big Bang have been more of a "Big Bounce?" LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Scientists generally agree the universe expanded rapidly within the first moments of creation. The theory, which would be ... continue reading


Is 'Pokemon Go' anti-Catholic? Watch

Image of Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game. Your smartphone superimposes the game over reality on your phone.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

America has become obsessed with Pokemon Go, an "augmented reality" game played with a smartphone. The sudden popularity of the game has surprised many. Its fantasy narrative also has Catholics asking if it's acceptable to play. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading


Facebook sued for role with TERRORISTS Watch

Image of Facebook is being sued for $1 billion (financialjuneteenth).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Facebook faces a $1 billion lawsuit for allowing Palestinian militant group, Hamas, to use the social media site to carry out attacks, resulting in 4 dead Americans and one wounded in Israel. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hamas is a terrorist organization ... continue reading


Virtual Actor to form 'emotional bond' - the next step in virtual reality relations? Watch

Image of Robots that display emotion are already among us (Will Ripley).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Researchers in Russia are set to reveal a computer capable of human emotions and the ability to build up trust. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • A Prayer for Special Intentions HD Video
  • St. Martha: Saint of the Day for Friday, July 29, 2016
  • How to be a missionary of mercy: Bishop Caggiano blows minds at WYD
  • Popular country singer sings powerful, MUST-HEAR song to 'Pray for Peace'
  • Daily Reading for Sunday, July 31st, 2016 HD Video
  • A world without nuclear weapons
  • Daily Readings for Friday, July 29, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 18:1-6
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh as follows,2 'Get ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 146:1-2, 2-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, my soul!2 I will praise Yahweh all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53
47 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast in the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2016 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became ... Read More