Toponymy of Mars

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Toponymy is the study of place names. Mars has a rich diversity of toponyms. The oldest currently in use were proposed by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli in his late 19th-century maps, drawn from telescopic observations.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU, founded in 1919), the organisation that officially determines planetary nomenclature, adopted many of Schiaparelli’s names in 1958.

New names for Martian features continue to be incorporated to this day, as ongoing spacecraft missions to the Red Planet add to our understanding of Martian geography.