Advertisement

Planetary Nomenclature: a Representation of human Culture and alien Landscapes

  • Henrik I. HargitaiEmail author
  • Kira B. Shingareva
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC, volume 6)

Abstract

Planetary nomenclature has two major functions: one is a cultural function: to commemorate people associated with space science; and other people, places or names representing human culture in general. These serve as the specific parts of extraterrestrial placenames. This function links extraterrestrial territories to our home planet, the Earth. The other function is to represent the true nature of the geographic (landscape) feature named. This second part of its name, the so called descriptor term is based the physical properties of the feature: its morphology (shape), and in some cases, its geological origin. The descriptor term is always in Latin, thus providing a link to medieval cartographic traditions and being neutral in a contemporary, international context. The system is standardized, having only one official form for each name.

It is a problem, however, that no nation speaks Latin today; and the currently used names are mostly unknown for most of their readers. The traditions of the nomenclature (names of mythological characters, famous scientists, the use of Latin), which linked Earth and the celestial objects together in the last centuries, now alienate extraterrestrial landforms – the opposite effect from its original one.

In this paper we investigate the evolution of the current Planetary Nomenclature Gazetteer and illuminate some disturbing problems related to the current practice of the use and development of the nomenclature. In the future additional nations are expected to have a more active role in Space Research; from cultures other than the Western (Old World) one; therefore it may be needed to reconsider some aspects of planetary nomenclature, especially its international nature which, as we show it, not as intercultural as it should be. We give some suggestions on how to improve the Gazetteer.

Keywords

Human Culture Writing System Planetary Body Lunar Crater Landform Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bryson B (2003) A Short History of Nearly Everything. Broadway Books: New York. Hargitai H, Kereszturi Á (2010) Towards the development of supplements to the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. EPSC2010-865. European Planetary Science Congress 2010 19 – 24 September 2010, Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  2. Hargitai H, Császár G, Bérczi Sz, Keresztúri Á (2008) Földön kívüli égitestek geológiai és rétegtani tagolása és nevezéktana [Geostratigraphy and nomenclature of extraterrestrial planetary bodies, in Hungarian], Földtani Közlöny 138/4Google Scholar
  3. Hargitai H, Kozma J, Kereszturi Á, Bérczi Sz, Dutkó A, Illés E, Karátson D, Sik A (2010) Javaslat a planetológiai nevezéktan magyar rendszerére. [Recommendation for a Hungarian System of Planetary Nomenclature, in Hungarian] Meteor csillagászati évkönyv 2010 pp 280-302Google Scholar
  4. Hartmann WK (2003) A traveler’s Guide to Mars. Workman Publishing.)Google Scholar
  5. Hargitai HI, Gregory HS, Osburg J, Hands D (2007) Development of a Local Toponym System at the Mars Desert Research Station Cartographica volt. 42, no. 2 / Summer 2007 pp 179-187 Hargitai HI (2006) Planetary Maps: Visualization and Nomenclature. Cartographica vol. 41, no 2 / Summer 2006 pp 149-167Google Scholar
  6. IAU (1960) Transactions of the International Astronomical Union, Moscow, August 12-20, 1958: Cambridge University Press, v. 10, pl. 1, p. 262.Google Scholar
  7. IAU (2010a): IAU Rules and Conventions. Gazetter of Planetay Nomenclature. USGS http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Page/Rules Accessed 2010 Oct. 3.
  8. IAU (2010b) Sources of Planetary Names USGS http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/References Accessed 2010 Oct. 3.
  9. Hamill K (1963) Place-names on the Moon: A report. Names: Journal of the American Name Society, Vol. 12,. No. 2Google Scholar
  10. Shingareva KB, Zimbelman J, Buchroithner MF, Hargitai HI (2005) The Realization of ICA Commission Projects on Planetary Cartography Cartographica, vol. 40, no. 4 /Winter 2005 pp 105-114Google Scholar
  11. Eppa L (1935) Proposal for naming the rays of the lunar craters, Popular Astronomy, 43, No 1Google Scholar
  12. (Jan 1935)Google Scholar
  13. Millman PM (1976) Topographic nomenclature on planetary bodies Icarus, Volume 29, Issue 1, September 1976, Pages 155-157Google Scholar
  14. Moreux Th (1950), Étude de la Lune avec Dictionnaire Sélénographique, Nouvelle Ed. ParisGoogle Scholar
  15. Pike RJ (1976) Disharmony of the spheres: Recent trends in planetary surface nomenclature Icarus, Volume 27, Issue 4, April 1976, Pages 577-583Google Scholar
  16. Proctor RA (1870) Other worlds than ours. London.Google Scholar
  17. Sadler, DH (1961) (ed) Proceedings of the Eleventh General Assembly. Commission pour l'etude physique des planetes et des satellites. Session administrative du 17 août 1961. IAU: Berkeley.Google Scholar
  18. Sagan C, Fox P (1975) The canals of Mars: An assessment after Mariner 9 Icarus, Volume 25, Issue 4, August 1975, pp 602-612Google Scholar
  19. Sagan C (1976) On solar system nomenclature Icarus, Volume 27, Issue 4, April 1976, pp 575-576Google Scholar
  20. tychocrater (2007) Catena. http://the-moon.wikispaces.com/Catena Accessed Jun 20, 2007. UGEGN (2001) E/2001/INF/3 Item 8 of the provisional agenda http://unstats.un.org/unsd/geoinfo/UNGEGNMandate2001.pdf Accessed Dec 1 2010.
  21. UN (1970) Paper ESA/RT/C/GN/I, items 46-48, April, 29, 1970Google Scholar
  22. UN (2002) United Nations Treaties And Principles On Outer Space. ST/SPACE/11 UN: New York.Google Scholar
  23. Whitaker E (1971) A Short History Of Lunar Nomenclature in: Gary L. Gutschewski, Danny C. Kinsler and Ewen Whitaker (ed). Atlas and gazetteer of the near side of the moon.Google Scholar
  24. Washington: Scientific and Technical Information Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (NASA SP-241)Google Scholar
  25. Whitaker, EA (1999) Mapping and Naming the Moon: A History of Lunar Cartography and Nomenclature. Cambridge University PresGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cosmic Materials Space Research GroupEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Moscow State University for Geodesy and CartographyMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations