Martian Rocks get Maori Names
The American space agency NASA has given Maori names to rocks on Mars, thanks to the influence of the film Whale Rider. The Mars robotic rover Opportunity is exploring near a cliff named after the late Wellington-born scientist Roger Burns, who made predictions about Martian geology. The NASA team used New Zealand names for rocks with geological links to the Burns cliff. Paikea – the name of the girl in the film – came to mind at first, and after they learned about Maori meeting houses another rock was named Wharenui. NASA has also used the names of the Rotorua geysers Pohutu and Kahu. Roger Burns was educated at Rongatai College and Victoria University. He was Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at MIT. He predicted that a certain mineral would be found on Mars that would prove that there had been a great body of water on the planet’s surface. Roger Burns died in 1994. See XenoTech Research also.