top of page

A Santa Claus crater on Mars?

December 24, 2021: boom! Something strikes the Martian ground. A new crater is born. But more importantly, the impact excavates boulder-size chunks of ice. Ice! Frozen water! Coming from just below the surface. That evening, no planetologists could have dreamed of any better gift! So, was it Santa's carriage that did crash on Mars? Luckily no! The before-and-after Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's views make it clear: a meteoroid caused the marsquake recorded by NASA's InSight Lander. Subsequently, Santa is alive! And you can start ordering for Christmas. Maybe some Mars4 land with a crater on it... with a 30% discount. But first, let's talk about Martian craters and, more specifically, their naming.

Santa on Mars

Due to its thin atmosphere, it is much more likely - here than on Earth - that big rocks from the universe will smash the Martian surface. And indeed, there are more than 40 000 impact craters with a diameter larger than 5 kilometers on the Red Planet. So far, only a thousand have officially been named. That is the job of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a non-governmental organization based in Paris-France. The naming is not random. It follows some rules that have been in place for a few decades or so. Concerning Mars' big holes, here is how it goes: craters larger than 60 kilometers in diameter are named after famous scientists or science fiction authors. The others, the smaller ones, after towns and villages from across the Earth.

Scientists on the Red Planet

It is no surprise that major craters celebrate prominent scientists. To name a few, you have most certainly heard of: Copernicus (who formulated the heliocentrism model that places the Sun, rather than Earth, at the center of our solar system), Galileo (who explored the Milky Way, and more, thanks to his enhanced telescopes), Newton (for his universal gravitation law)... these are Rare NFTs on Mars4. You will be able to purchase them via our upcoming auctions. However, with some investigation, you might "unearth" available Mars4 land plots within craters named after your preferred science heroes. In that respect, let's celebrate our Japanese community and mention the Tsuneo Saheki crater. Throughout his life, Saheki popularized space exploration in the archipelago. In recognition of his contribution to the lore of Mars, the IAU bestowed his name on a crater bordering Sabaea and Tyrrhena Terras.

Tsuneo Saheki & Martian flares sketch

Sci-Fi authors made their way to Mars

You will also find the names of several famous science-fiction authors on the Martian map. Indeed, their tales have often inspired careers among astronomers. Here is a sample: H.G. Wells (author of the year 1897 novel The War of the Worlds where Martians invade Earth and subjugate Mankind), Orson Welles (the multi-talented artist, who produced such a convincing radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, that it triggered panic across the USA during the 1938 Halloween celebration), Stanley G. Weinbaum (his 1934 short story A Martian Odyssey features - for the first time - gentle and intelligent creatures from Mars). The map shows that many of the Sci-Fi authors' craters are scattered around Hellas Planitia, especially East of the giant basin, within a territory called Promethei Terra. Nothing surprising since the mythical Titan Prometheus is best known for having defied the Greek gods by stealing fire from them, giving humanity the technology to break free from nature... Will this southern hemisphere land become a hub for Sci-Fi lovers on Mars4? Time will tell! In any case, land plots are still available around Pal crater: find your land here, or around Greg crater: purchase your land there... as well as not too far from Weinbaum and Wells craters: select your land here or select your land there.

Orson Welles, War of the Worlds on CBS

War Of The Worlds 2005 Steven Spielberg movie

Villages and towns on Mars

The vast majority of martian craters are smaller in diameter than 60 kilometers. Because of the official nomenclature, most of them bear the name of a town on Earth. Find out if your place has its counterpart on Mars using the search field on the IAU website. Maybe, you'll be surprised. Like many people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when Perseverance Rover landed in a crater named after one of the country villages: Jezero!

So, what about our Christmas Eve 150 meters wide crater? Should you want to name it Santa Claus, official nomenclature would make it impossible. It would have to be designated after some small locality. In that case, it is not sure whether popular culture would adopt the somehow rigid IAU toponymy... And actually, there are already some "Santa Claus Craters" on Mars. The Nasa HiRISE telescope team has named some that way in the Arcadia Planitia region. The reason is: winds trap dust at their edges and form streamers that look like Santa's beard. As humans always do, the team bestowed a name inspired by a local feature. Eventually, it is a blend of official and non-official denominations that will go down in History books.

Jezero village in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jezero Crater on Mars when it was filled with water


Now, the question is: will you purchase your geographically exact 3D virtual Mars land plot NFT? How will you name its craters and other geological features? Will you build colonies? What will they be about? Will they thrive? Will they grow in Mars4 Metaverse? Ultimately, will they make History? To help you achieve great goals, Santa Claus and Mars4 join together with a special offer: a 30% discount! Select your land plot and enter the coupon code F5DLEAAFE4 to start your Martian Adventure.

Mars from MarsAtlas


309 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page