The areo- prefix is derived from the ancient Greek word Ares which is the personification of the planet Mars in Greek mythology. The name is an analogue to the term "geocentric orbit" for an orbit around Earth. The apsides are named periareon and apoareon.
The first artificial satellites in areocentric orbit and the first orbiters of another celestial body (other than the Moon) were the U.S. Mariner 9 probe and Soviet Mars 2 and Mars 3 orbiters in 1971, 14 November and 27 November respectively. Later they were followed by many probes.