Kathmandu: Though Nepal is not a country overtly interested in space matters, it now has a name on Mars. A crater on Mars has been named after one of the villages worst hit by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. At least 215 people were killed in Langtang, a popular trekking site, when the April 25 quake triggered an avalanche that swamped the village.
The International Astronomical Union has now named a 9.8 km (six mile) wide crater on Mars as Langtang. The researcher behind the move, Tjalling de Haas, said it was “a tribute” to the Nepali village. Dr de Haas, who studies Mars’s physical geography at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, told the BBC he chose Langtang because his colleague had worked there while studying Himalayan glaciers.
“It was his base camp for a long period, so we said maybe it’s a nice tribute to call [the crater] Langtang,” he said. Langtang was a “scientifically important” crater, de Haas said. “The marks on the top of the crater wall were probably water flows, and below them you can see ridges — the remains of former glaciers.”