Two hundred million miles from London, in the sand-blasted foothills of the solar system’s largest volcano, sits a rather interesting crater (as these things go). Interesting to scientists because it is relatively new; interesting to us because it has been named Tooting Crater.
The tag was chosen by former Tooting resident Pete Mouginis-Mark, who works in the nascent field of Martian geology. No high-resolution pictures of the crater are currently available, but This Is Local London offer a wonderful Daily Mirror-style preconstruction of ‘what Tooting on Mars might look like’.
Mr Mouginis-Mark, possibly the more studious brother of Money Mark, clarified the reasoning behind his choice. The crater reminded him of Tooting Bec, in that it sits next to a small river valley. But why not call it Mouginis-Mark crater, and leave your name to posterity? Twisting his objects and subjects like the mangled wreckage of a crashed Mars probe, he explained:
You're not allowed to name features after living people, you have to have been dead for at least seven years.
This is the first crater on Mars to be named after a part of London, and Tooting are delighted. A proud councillor beamed:
This comes as no surprise to those of us who have always known that Tooting was out of this world.
Those who consider Tooting to be a barren waste with little atmosphere will also find the comparison apt. Citizen Smith was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, fans of space exploration can be wowed at the Bfi London Imax from Friday, with the opening of Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D. And there are more Imax space goodies for next year, with a film shot entirely by those plucky little Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity in the pipeline. Tooting enthusiasts: your time will come.