This article was translated by John R. Bopp
(Updated April 19, 2018)
The other day, one of our readers sent us a reference to a crater on Mars, and how, since 2003, it’s carried the name of a Basque town, Galdakao. The truth is, at that moment, we had already heard about this news, stored it at the back of the closet of our minds, and forgotten about it. Our reader’s message not only reminded us of the story, but also piqued our interest in finding out if any other places in our Solar System have been given Basque-related names.
And here we run into the age-old problem, that most of the time, anything “Basque” is merged into lists of people, places, and matters that are Spanish or French. Not to mention, we have no idea if these Basques are Basque-descendants and therefore appear on lists of other places. That’s why we’re convinced our list is incomplete, but we share it in the hopes that, between all of us, we can fill in the gaps.
The other matter that caught our attention is the lack of great Basque explorers giving their names to geographical features on some of the planets or moons that we share a star with. Not finding any references to Juan Sebastian Elcano or Andrés de Urdaneta seems impossible to us.
But let’s get back to the names related to Basques that we’ve found on lists of geographical features on other bodies in the solar system. By the way, we found them on the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature at NASA.
By decision of the Pamplona Planetarium and the Spanish Astronomy Society, since February 2017, the asteroid 1990 KB1 will carry the name of Eibar-born astrophysicist Javier Gorosabel (1969-2015), thus paying posthumous homage to his scientific discoveries
Crater on Mars. Euskadi (Basque) town in Spain. (since 2003)
Crater on Mercury. Maurice; French composer (1875-1937). (since 1985)
After Maurice Ravel, his origins and self-definition as Basque have been mentioned in several entries
Corona on Venus. Goddesses in World Mythology, by Martha Ann and Dorothy Myers Imel; ABC-CLIO, Inc., Santa Barbara, CA 1993. (since 2006)
Patera (shallow crater) on the moon Io. Goddesses in World Mythology, by Martha Ann and Dorothy Myers Imel; ABC-CLIO, Inc., Santa Barbara, CA 1993. (since 2000)
Ekhi/Eki/Eguzki (“Sun” in English): in Basque mythology, the daughter of the earth (‘Amalur’), who says goodbye when disappearing over the ‘Itxasgorrieta’ into the bowels of the earth to light the underworld. Information about this goddess here (automatic translation)
BASQUES IN SPACE! A “FECULA” ON MERCURY IS GIVEN A BASQUE NAME
As we said, this is not a closed list, and we’d be delighted to make it more complete with the help of our readers.
We’d also like to find out, now that our interest has been piqued, why Martha Ann and Dorothy Myers Imel gave these Basque goddess names to these places. We’ve been digging into it, and we’ve discovered that ABC-CLIO is an American company focused on education and spreading knowledge, and they wrote a book compiling all the goddess of world mythology: Goddesses in World Mythology