Uwingu: Connecting People to Mars and Exoplanets in a Whole New Way

Mars Baby - Jon Lomberg

By Jon Lomberg, Uwingu Advisor

As every news reporter and politician knows, stories about one person grab our interest more than stories about a million people. For example, one single mother’s struggle with minimum wage has more emotional resonance than the demographics of a million low-wage owners. The first is a story, the second a statistic.  

Similarly space exploration is a topic that is sometimes numbing in its vastness. We read about billions of planets existing in our galaxy, but the more interesting story is about a particular new planet discovery.

The power of Uwingu’s appeal as I see it is that it provides a direct connection between an individual human being and an individual planet or Martian crater. When a person nominates a name for a new planet, that planet ceases to be one of billions and becomes a particular individual. You can’t be friends with a big crowd. Your emotional attachment is to individuals.

By providing a direct link between an individual and a new planet, our sense of involvement is deepened.

Similarly, we can read about a half a million craters on Mars and it is almost meaningless. But a person studying a Mars map and selecting a single crater to name creates a personal bond between themselves and that crater. It becomes a small part of Mars that is the namer’s vicarious presence on the Red Planet. From that point on, whenever the namer hears a story about Mars, that crater leaps to mind and allows the story to take root in the namer’s mind.

Through Uwingu, Mars is ceasing to be a remote planet and has instead become a real place for thousands of people, and soon to be more!


About Jon Lomberg: Jon Lomberg was Carl Sagan’s primary artist collaborator, won an Emmy Award for the original COSMOS series, was Design Director for NASA’s legendary Voyager Record, and is currently Project Director for One Earth: the New Horizons Message. Find Jon online at: www.jonlomberg.com, www.galaxygarden.net and www.newhorizonsmessage.com