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Naming a crater on Mars for Mac

August 17, 2010

I received a very interesting email last night that I think you all would be interested in!  Shepherd Johnson would like to collect votes and showcase Mac’s work on Mars to persuade USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) to name a Martian crater for Mac.

Shepherd has a contact at USGS who has stated and believes, as per the website guidelines, that Mac “falls under the criteria for the naming convention, which is that craters are named for writers and others who have contributed to the lore of Mars.” All that is required for this is a recommendation, but Shepherd and I would like to go the extra step and showcase Mac’s work, as well as show a whole bunch of citizen support!

Shepherd has started by creating a Facebook group for people interested in having a crater (preferably in or near the region of Cydonia!) named for Mac.  If you are a Facebook user, please join to show your support!  We have no idea if voting will help, but it certainly couldn’t hurt!

Next, we are looking for ideas of ways to showcase Mac’s work, which is where we could use some help from the Macbot community.  We could either give this USGS contact a list of URLs that link to his Mars-related material, or possibly direct her to a page here at Macbots where we post everything Mars-related we can find, but either way, we need help searching for the material!!  Neither of us know Mac’s work as well as the whole community does, so we really need the hivemind to get this off the ground!

If you can think of a link, article, or anything of Mac’s that you think would be useful, please post a comment here,  tweet me @macbots, or email me at blazingbetta [@] gmail [dot] com.  It may take a while, even a couple years, to see this effort come to fruition, but I think Mac is definitely worth the effort!

Thanks, Macbots!!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010 6:59 pm

    This is a fantastic idea. Mac was an inspiring thinker, especially in regard to the red planet. I would very much love to see this happen.

  2. Shepherd Johnson permalink
    August 17, 2010 8:17 pm

    Great post Sarah, thanks. Since I wasn’t sure how to proceed and the guidelines for submitting names seemed to be very casual, I went ahead and submitted Mac’s name to the USGS contact person. Her name is Jennifer S. Blue, and she is very helpful. As I thought, we will have to wait a little over two years as honorees have to have been deceased for 3 years before their names can be considered. I’ve also asked for a more in depth explanation for how a name goes from a submission to being applied to a planetary feature.

    In the meantime I’d like to dedicate the Facebook group to discussing Mac’s Mars writing and in October of 2012, I will resubmit Mac’s name to the USGS

  3. CapnMarrrrk permalink
    August 17, 2010 10:01 pm


    I suppose we could start with The Cydonian Imperative site.

    Then we have all his articles at PHB tagged with Mars

    Or the items searched as Mars (in case it isn’t tagged) here

  4. August 17, 2010 10:17 pm

    Wow, Sarah, what a great idea – he’d love it!
    I no longer have a Facebook page, but as far a Mac’s Mars-related material, there is, of course, his published book “After the Martian Apocalypse” (which can be still be found on Amazon), and a treasure-trove of Mars-related posts on PHB… Start here:
    and then just keep clicking “older posts” till you’ve seen them all… there must be well over a hundred!
    If there’s any way I can help out, let me know – good luck!

  5. August 17, 2010 11:44 pm

    Glad you are all as excited as I am! October 2012 it is!!

    Sorry I misunderstood and misspoke in my blog… I had to make a correction that it was not in fact Shepherd’s contact that said Mac fits the criteria, but his own information that he gleaned from the website. Still sounds like a slam dunk to me! 😀

    Thanks for your URLs and links. I’m still undecided if we should just hand over a bunch of links or hand-pick the best of Mac’s Mars material and post those on a separate Macbot page. I’m leaning toward the latter idea because I can’t see ppl at USGS sifting through hundreds of articles (though we could make them available). Let me know what you think!

  6. August 18, 2010 12:53 pm

    What about those of us who don’t have —and don’t want to have— a Facebook account? How do we support this petition?

    PS: IMHO naming a future Mars exploration rover after our favorite Posthumanist writer would be more fitting.

    • August 18, 2010 9:42 pm

      Awesome thought, and great question!

      Those who don’t use Facebook should remember that the petition is not a sure way of grabbing USGS’s attention – it is just one way to bring supporters together and to easily share updates.

      The best way for anyone to be involved is to 1) nominate Mac’s best Mars-related material so we can collect the best of Mac’s work into one area, 2) share this idea with others so as to build awareness and support, and 3) collect and share writings of other people who have been inspired by Mac’s work on Mars to show that he has had a lasting impression. I think this last point is what USGS will really be looking for!

      Because not everyone is interested in using Facebook or Twitter, this site is open to being a central location for people to stay involved and in the loop. I guess the only catch here is that people need to have a WordPress account in order to post comments. Don’t know how to get around that, except to say that I’m open to receiving emails from people who want to contribute but don’t want to sign up for anything 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  7. August 19, 2010 9:10 pm

    This is an amazing idea.
    I learned about Mac and his writings far too late. We seemed to have shared so much in common. Since I’ll never get to meet him on this plane, this seems like the best thing I can do for him.
    Please keep posting actions we can take to help make this happen.

    • August 20, 2010 1:07 pm


      The best thing you can do to help this cause is to go through Mac’s online work on Mars and choose what you think are the best pieces so we can showcase them to USGS! Post a link to your faves and I’ll set them up on a separate page! Thanks!!

  8. August 26, 2010 8:14 pm

    Terrific idea! I’d suggest asking Jennifer Blue what the best way to make your case would be — whether a web page with links, a “best-of” CD with copies to all who need it for making the decision. Find out exactly how the decision is made, and make your pitch with that in mind.

    • August 26, 2010 11:36 pm

      Great idea, Carol. The weird thing here is that Jennifer seems to have specifically stated that *nothing* is required, just a nomination of a name. We were hoping to strengthen our case by having relevant material ready and available.

      But your advice to find out exactly how the decision is a very good one, and one that we should look into further! Thank you so much for your input!!

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