There are a number of people who are trying to raise money to fund various projects in the sciences. And we have covered a lot of them. From crowd funded robots to absurd umbrellas. And we've even covered craters on Mars.
Now, of course, someone isn't raising money to make craters on Mars. Rather, they are raising money to name them. The project comes from a company called Uwingu, and a portion of the funds that are raised will be used to fund various projects related to space exploration, research, and education. Ultimately, half of Uwingu’s revenues go to fund the Uwingu Fund for space research and education grants.
To date, they have provided 11 grants to student researchers, helped fund the International Dark-Sky Association, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Galileo Teacher Training Program, SETI, and a number of other projects.
That said, the organization makes it clear that the named craters will not supplant other maps of the Red Planet. And Uwingu will not seek IAU approval for the names; they will be informal or popular names. But of course, there are other popular names in science, and the most famous example is “The Milky Way,” which is not IAU-sanctioned either. In any case, the 15,000 places whose names have already been approved by the International Astronomical Union will be incorporated into Uwingu’s map.
And remember, it is for a good cause.
Uwingu also has a special for Father's Day, which is being celebrated tomorrow in a number of locations around the world. Individuals who purchase one of the 50 largest craters will get a kind of 2-for-1 bonus: A gift certificate of equal value, allowing them to put additional crater names on the Mars map for free anytime in 2015.
Prices for naming craters depend on the size of the crater, and begin at $5. All you need to do this is an internet connection and a few dollars to spare. If you manage to secure that, you will be able to give any name of your choosing to one of the Red Planet’s 500,000 or so unnamed craters (well, nearly any name of your choosing. The name will stick, unless Uwingu officials believe that the term is offensive).
Head to their website if you are interested.