May 09, 2015 04:05 PM EDT
Forget the cards and flowers. If you want to be truly original this Mother's Day, the space-funding company Uwingu will let you purchase a name, in honor of dear old Mom, for one of the 600,000 craters on the Martian surface.
Uwingu, whose name means "sky" in Swahili, started the crater-naming project back in February 2013 in order to raise money for space research. They hope the project will excite the public about space science in general, with half the proceeds from the naming rights going toward grants in science and space education.
Although the names are not officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union, that 11,000 member organization tasked with "unambiguous astronomical nomenclature," the names will be incorporated into Uwingu's "people's map of Mars," which so far boasts over 16,000 named craters on the Red Planet. The map will be shot into space aboard the Mars One robot lander, scheduled to launch in 2020.
"People love this - it's so unique," said Uwingu CEO Alan Stern, who is also principal investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission, which will fly by Pluto on July 14.
"People write us on Facebook, and they tweet to us - things like, 'We look at your Mars map, and it's so humanizing,'" Stern told Space.com. "There are all these names of people, and there are the stories behind them. When you name something, you get to dedicate it, and people tell stories."
Wondering how much of a dent in your wallet naming a crater may make? Prices are based on the size of the crater, with the smallest of craters going for an economical $5. For the big spenders who opt for naming one of the planet's 50 largest craters, they'll receive a Uwingu gift certificate of equal value to their purchase, which they can use toward the naming of other craters.
You must act fast! The special offer, which includes a Mother's Day certificate, ends on May 10th. But if you miss the deadline, there's always her birthday.
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