David Bowie
David Bowie's interest in astronomy has prompted thousands to call for Mars to be renamed after the late music legendGetty

Days after the announcement of David Bowie's death, thousands of people have signed a petition calling for Mars to be renamed after the music legend. The 69-year-old, who passed away on 10 January following an 18-month battle with cancer, achieved iconic status with his ethereal alter egos Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane.

The Change.org petition has gained more than 3,000 signatures since it was launched by Londoner Danny Rapscallion on 11 January. The petition notes Bowie's "fascination with space, the planets and extra-terrestrial existence", and urges the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to give the star "a piece of the galaxy" in return.

"[David Bowie] has driven people to watch the stars and the night sky, to open their minds and forward think astronomically," writes Rapscallion on Change.org. "The biggest accolade we can give back to this great man and in his memory – rename planet Mars after him."

A different petition, also directed at the IAU, calls for the next star discovered to be named after Bowie. Liz Williams from Cornwall writes that it would be a "fitting tribute" to the star and has urged people to share her petition so "it gets taken notice of and we get our Starman to acknowledge in the skies for ever more".

The call to name a star after Bowie has gained more momentum than the call to rename Mars, with more than 7,000 people backing Williams's plea. A number of smaller petitions have also been started calling for stars and constellations to be named after the music legend.

Other petitions echoing sentiments of a Mars tribute have also appeared, with one asking the IAU to rename "something on Mars" after Bowie, suggesting a "landscape feature" be chosen for this. A more extreme call to host a memorial for the star on planet Mars was also launched but shut down after gaining only five supporters.

Elsewhere, other petitions have sprung up calling for different kinds of tributes to Bowie. One urging Royal Mail to create a stamp range in honour of the star has gained nearly 7,000 signatures, while another has suggested the Bank of England should print Bowie's face on the new £20 notes.