18 February 2021

The extraordinary link between NASA’s Mars rover landing and a small village in Bosnia

18 February 2021

Bosnian villagers will be gathering in front of a video screen in the yard of their community’s only school to watch NASA’s Mars rover attempt a landing on the red planet.

And they have a special reason for doing so, as the crater where the rover is hoping to land, is named after the small village of Jezero.

NASA informed local authorities in 2019 of its plans to name a 28-mile (45-kilometer) wide crater on Mars after the village because it was once home to a river-fed lake like the one just outside Jezero, whose name means ‘lake’ in the local language.

The news was personally delivered in September 2019 by the US ambassador to Bosnia, who presented the mayor with a letter from NASA’s director of Mars exploration honouring the connection between the village and the red planet.

“When I first heard on TV that NASA named a crater on Mars after Jezero, I was surprised and I thought, ‘something good is finally happening to us. After years of hardship maybe this is a sign we can finally move forward’,” said Milan Kotanjac, a Jezero villager.

“It is very important for our municipality, for our people,” he added.

Many locals are hoping that the exploration of the Mars crater might inspire more attention and visitors to their own small patch of the universe.

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