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Mars Crater Controversy: International Astronomical Union Issues Statement Regarding Unwingus Naming Process For Pay

Mar 13, 2014 05:00 PM EDT | By Justin Stock
Mars, Wingu

Uwingu's efforts to have citizens name one of Mars 500,000 craters for at least $5 has created concern among the International Astronomical Union.

The union issued a release on their website Tuesday saying they created and currently have an official naming system in place.

"In 1919, when the IAU was founded, it was given the official mission to establish internationally recognized planet and satellite nomenclature. The objective at the time was to standardize the various confusing systems of nomenclature for the Moon that were then in use. Since that time, the IAU has succeeded in constructing a single, reliable, official catalogue of surface feature names, thus enabling successful international public and scientific communication."

This also included working with the USSR and United States to concur about how lunar characteristics should be named in the 1960's space race according to information on the Union's website.

 "Today, the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN), representing the worldwide astronomical community, provides a unique system of official names for Solar System objects (planetary surface features, natural satellites, dwarf planets, and planetary rings) for the benefit of the international science community, educators, and the general public," the union said in the statement.

"In order to make sure that all scientists, educators and the general public speak the same language astronomers from the International Astronomical Union have agreed on common standards for naming space objects, features or phenomena so that they can be easily located, described, and discussed," the union said in a press release on their website. "For instance, features on a given planet or satellite receive names chosen from a particular theme. Only those features that are deemed to be of significance to science are given a name by the community, thus leaving other features to be named by future generations," the union said in a statement.

Uwingu feels the naming should be expanded, and not centered on one aspect.

"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," Doug Griffith co-founder at Uwingu told NBC News. "That will be done by others who recognize that science exists for the benefit of the world, not for the scientists."

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