BOULDER – Nothing says, “I love you, mom” more than naming a crater on Mars after her.
As Mother’s Day nears, Boulder-based Uwingu LLC will place her name on a map of Mars’ craters for $5.
It’s all part of Uwingu’s Mars Crater Naming project, a way to raise funds for space exploration organizations.
There are approximately 590,000 unnamed craters on Uwingu’s map of Mars, which Uwingu created based on open source data from NASA.
The project is neither affiliated with nor authorized by any governments or space exploration organizations, said Alan Stern, founder and CEO of Uwingu.
Stern also is the president and chief executive of Golden Spike Co., a Boulder-based aerospace startup that has plans to send a privately funded and built spacecraft to the moon by 2020.
More notably, Stern is the former chief of NASA’s space and earth science programs, where he directed a $4.4 billion organization with 93 separate flight missions and a program of more than 3,000 research grants. He also is a consultant to several aerospace companies.
Almost 10,000 Mars craters have been named since Uwingu started the project Feb. 26. Uwingu expects to complete the project by end of the year.
Participants will receive either a digital downloadable certificate about the crater they named, or receive a gift pack including a special Mother’s Day certificate for choosing to name a crater for mom. All names will be logged on permanent record in Uwingu’s map system.
The money goes to The Uwingu Fund, which was established to provide grants for several organizations, including Astronomers Without Borders, Student for the Exploration and Development of Space at the University of Colorado, the Galileo Teacher Training Program and the Allen Telescope Array at SETI, to further their space exploration, research and education.
A private Mars mission from Mars One, a Netherlands-based nonprofit organization, will take the map to Mars and use it for the mission, Stern said. And he thinks the map is likely to be used by everyone in the future.