Peru: Asteroids named after Maria Reiche and Nazca Lines

15:08 | Lima, Sep. 22.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named two asteroids in honor of the Nazca Lines and German researcher Maria Reiche, who dedicated her life to studying such geoglyphs, thus leaving a legacy in the preservation of these enigmatic figures located in Ica region.

The IAU Working Group on Small Body Nomenclature (WGSBN) Bulletin (Volume 1, #6 2021) announced that the asteroid 369134 (2008 RG79) was named Mariareiche, while the other minor planet, 369297 (2009 SW20), was named Nazca. The two rocky cores were discovered in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

The international organization highlights the work of Reiche, who arrived in Peru —for a short period— at the age of 29 but returned in late 1937, captivated by the country's landscapes.

In her research, the German mathematician introduced new theories about the meaning of these lines. Besides, she promoted the site's revelation to the world and its tourism promotion.

She passed away at the age of 95 and her wake was held at the premises of the National Institute of Culture (now Ministry of Culture).
Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are detailed designs and lines depicting geometric and zoomorphic figures covering an area 50 km long and 15 km wide. 

This magnificent archaeological site can be found between km 419-465 on Panamericana Sur Highway.

First reports on these lines date back to 1927. However, it was not until 1946 that more thorough research works emerged, when German researcher Maria Reiche became interested in the geoglyphs. She would dedicate the rest of her life to their study. 

In November this year, Peru will commemorate 27 years since the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Palpa were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.


Published: 9/22/2021