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Mars One to use 'People's Map' of Mars

Proposed Martian colony.
Proposed Martian colony.
Mars One.

If all goes according to plan, the first people to set foot on the Martian surface will navigate by using a map of the planet filled with names chosen by the general public. The news comes via a press conference held by Mars One, which aims to land humans on Mars by 2025 and Uwingu, which makes money by selling the rights to name celestial bodies.

So, what's going on?

Speaking at the press conference, Mars One co-founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp said that "we're very enthusiastic about the partnership with Uwingu . . . like Mars One, Uwingu gives everyone around the world the opportunity to participate in space exploration. The name you choose will go down in history, traveling on board our 2018 mission lander and will be used by our future astronauts. What an amazing opportunity!"

Depending on how you look at it, this is a perfect marriage of two cutting-edge, or dysfunctional companies.

Last year, Mars One announced a series of ambitious plans for sending humans to the Red Planet by 2025, far ahead of what NASA is aiming to do with its mid 2030s goal. The catch with the Mars One mission: it is a one-way trip that will send colonists to Mars, never to return to Earth as a cost—saving measure. Currently, Mars One has none of the technology available to do this, but it plans to raise the necessary revenue to make this vision a reality by creating a massive money making machine based on reality television showcasing the astronaut selection process..

As for Uwingu, which means 'sky' in Swahili, it is a company that raises money for funding space research by selling naming rights to individuals or a small fee, never mind the fact that the names mean nothing in the real world as only the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has the authority to name bodies in space.

Still, though, this is an interesting development in the ongoing Mars One saga, stay tuned to see how things continue as, if all goes according to plan, the astronaut selection process will be starting very soon.

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