The craters of Mars appear in this artist's view of the Red Planet. Image uploaded March 11, 2014.
Credit: IAU/M. Kornmesser
One company wants you to make this Mother's Day (May 11) out of this world by naming features on Mars for moms on Earth.
Uwingu, a company that dedicates funds raised to space endeavors, is offering a special gift pack until May 11 that includes a Mother's Day certificate for people choosing to name a crater on Mars for their moms. The names will be logged in a record and sent to Mars with Mars One, a private mission aimed at sending humans to the Red Planet, Uwingu representatives said in a statement.
Anyone with an Internet connection and a few spare dollars can pick a feature on the Red Planet and name it.
"Our mission is to raise funds for space research while growing a successful company that gets people excited about space exploration and education," Alan Stern, founder and CEO of Uwingu and former director of all science programs and missions at NASA, said in a statement. [The Boldest Mars Missions in History]
Uwingu launched the Mars Map Crater Naming Project in February 2013, and since then, people around the world have named almost 10,000 craters through the project, according to the company.
While the crowdsourced Uwingu names are not recognized by the International Astronomical Union — the organization responsible for formally naming cosmic objects — it doesn't change Uwingu's mission. The company hopes to create a "people's map of Mars," where anyone can have a voice on what a feature should be named.
The smallest craters will set space fans back about $5, with prices increasing as the size of the crater grows. If people were to name every crater available, Uwingu could raise more than $10 million for the Uwingu Fund, which awards grants to bolster various scientific projects, including Astronomers Without Borders and Mars One.
Stern hopes this effort will help name all of Mars' cataloged craters by the end of 2014, he said in 2013. The project also paints a cultural map of Earth's people, Stern said.
"It's like taking a picture of ourselves," Stern said in 2013. "What will people put? Will there be a lot of craters named for politicians? For artists, for relatives, for places on Earth? Sports teams?"
To learn more about the Mars map project, and to name a crater for your mom, log on to www.uwingu.com for more information.