Sunday, September 25, 2005

Unusual Names for Places on Mars

Via Slashdot. From the LA Times:

The twin rover missions have forced scientists to come up with more than 4,000 names to mark everything from the majestic Columbia Hills to a few pebbles in the sand.

The result is an extravagantly labeled map punctuated by the scientists' ever-changing preoccupations with history, holidays, monkeys, ice cream, cartoon characters, sushi, Mayan words, Scandinavian fish delicacies … the list goes on and on.

Since everyone at JPL was raiding a freezer of ice cream at the time, Opportunity's controllers took their cue from their stomachs. That's why there is an area of round and chunky pebbles named Cookies N Cream and a lighter patch of soil named Vanilla.

Earlier this year, a pockmarked meteorite in Opportunity's path was named SpongeBob SquarePants. Scientists had to name a spot on the rock and came up with SpongeBob's best friend, Patrick...

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