This article was translated by John R. Bopp

A while back, we started compiling a curious list of the Basque presence in the Solar System: craters and other geographical features on planets, moons, and asteroids with Basque-related names.

Today, we get to add a new element to the ever longer list.  We found out on the Smithsonian‘s website that some geographical features on Pluto and Mercury received official names.  We also happened to notice that the article was written by Julissa Treviño, whose surname makes an obvious connection to our country.

We found the Basque presence on Mercury.  In the Caloris Basin, there are a series of deposits that stand out due to their shiny, reddish hue.  The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has officially named seven of these faculae (which means ‘small torch’) with the words for “snake” in several languages.  One of them, the Suge Facula, as you can see on the IAU file, takes its name from the Basque word, “suge”.  (And they found the word in the Basque-English dictionary printed at yours truly’s alma mater, the University of Nevada-Reno!)


Smithsonian – 16/4/2018 – USA

Sci-Fi and Snakes Rule in New Official Names for Features on Pluto’s Largest Moon and Mercury

With each new missions into space, we get spectacular views of stars, asteroids, planets and more. And with each discovery of crater and mountain on these far-flung worlds, researchers need identifying names.

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Science – 9/4/2018 -USA

Mercury’s ‘snakes’ get formal names

When NASA’s Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft made its first flyby of Mercury in 2008, astronomers spotted strange deposits: blankets of material ranging from tens to thousands of kilometers wide whose color led researchers to informally dub them “red spots.” To date, scientists have cataloged more than 150 of these objects—and now, the International Astronomical Union has given them formal names.

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Last Updated on Dec 20, 2020 by About Basque Country

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