Features are named only when they have special scientific interest,
and when the naming of such features is useful to the scientific and
cartographic communities at large (see IAU Rules and Conventions).
The IAU name proposal review process takes a minimum of one month for
straightforward requests; 2-3 months may be required for complicated proposals or for multiple names.
Members of the professional science community who have a specific scientific need to name a
planetary surface feature may submit a name proposal by emailing the following information to
A template is available via email for multiple name requests.
Proposer name, institutional affiliation, and position
Name of body that the feature is located on
Database information in this list format, one feature per page:
Justification for naming – 3-4 sentence scientific justification statement,
preferably in terms that an international audience can understand. Include
a morphologic and geologic description of the feature, why it’s a focus of
the research (i.e., its potential geologic importance), and a timeline for
publication in a peer-reviewed journal of a manuscript or map that discusses the feature
An image of the feature with no annotation
An image of the feature with annotation (boundary or outline)
If you are a MS or PhD student, we will need a letter of support from your advisor; email to Tenielle Gaither
Optional – if feature outlines were digitized in shapefile format, please provide those in addition to the above material –
it will streamline proposal preparation and assure that the features are defined exactly as you intended