In the Name of the Moon

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Over subsequent years, as both American and Soviet spacecraft filled in the far side coverage with increasingly higher quality images, most major far side craters received names of various scientists and engineers. From around the world, a mixed bag of names were submitted to the International Astronomical Union IAU — the body of scientists who authorize the names of planetary surface features for consideration and approval.

Here's Your Chance to Name 5 Jupiter Moons! (No Moony McMoonfaces, Please)

Although some were historically significant, many were people with whom few were familiar. Though NASA does not have the authority to assign names to features on the Moon, an informal practice of naming landmarks was common during the Apollo missions. Names were given to the small craters and mountains near each landing site e.

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George, Stone Mountain but official names were used as well e. NASA adopts informal names for the same reason that names are given to geographical features on Earth — as shorthand to refer to landmarks and other mapped features. Ride Impact Site. Sally thus joins other women of science and note who have lunar features named for them — Hypatia , Caroline Herschel and Marie Curie , among others.

The Apollo basin a km diameter crater on the southwestern far side was named to honor the Apollo missions — the only crater on the Moon so designated.

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Within a few years of their missions, smaller craters were named for the living crews of Apollo 8 Borman , Lovell and Anders and Apollo 11 Armstrong , Aldrin and Collins. Also located around the Apollo basin are craters named for deceased astronauts and NASA employees, including the lost crews of Apollo 1 and the lost crews of the final missions of the Challenger and Columbia Space Shuttles. In a similar vein, craters near the poles of the Moon tend to be named for famous polar scientists and explorers, such as Nansen, Shackleton, and Amundsen.

Other than these exceptions, the location of specifically named craters has little rhyme or reason. Neither scientific prominence nor contribution guarantees any crater-endowed immortality. Copernicus and Archimedes are rightly honored with spectacular craters named for them. But Galileo and Newton titans in the history of science are fobbed off with insignificant or barely detectable features.

In the Name of the Moon - TV Tropes

One of the most prominent craters on the Moon is named for the astronomer Tycho Brahe, an eccentric who spent most of his career trying to validate a variant of the Earth-centered, Ptolemaic model of the Solar System Ptolemy also has a prominent crater in the center of the near side named for him. It is possible to both suggest a name and to propose a crater for that name, though the IAU is not obliged to accept either.

Often, a suggested name is approved but assigned to a different crater. Currently, the guidelines for submission and assignment of new names for lunar craters are: 1 a scientist or explorer who has made some significant contribution, preferably to the study of the Moon and planets; 2 deceased for at least three years before a crater name becomes official; 3 it cannot duplicate any existing lunar name.

In , I proposed the name Ryder to honor my colleague Graham Ryder , a lunar scientist who passed away in and suggested a small, bright crater on the far side to carry his name. Both suggestions were adopted.

List of maria on the Moon

We have since found that Ryder crater is actually quite a geologically spectacular feature Graham would be proud of his namesake. At the conclusion of that mission, the vehicle was crashed into the south polar crater that was subsequently named for him. Ride Impact Site but as history suggests, granting of official status is not guaranteed.

No matter — we will continue to assign names to features as needed and the IAU will do what they do. Most working lunar scientists stubbornly refused to accept this decision and continued using the old crater names.

In the name of the moon ORIGINAL VINE

The names need to meet certain constraints in order to be approved by the International Astronomical Union , which oversees all names for objects in space and features on their surfaces. That's not necessarily particularly limiting; in both sets of mythologies that particular god is notorious for his aggressive sexual activity. But moon names in the Jovian system are also structured based on the direction in which they orbit the gas giant.

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Two of the new moons orbit in the same direction as the planet rotates , which requires a name that ends in -a; the other three travel in the opposite direction and will be given names that end in -e. There are other rules as well: For example, names can't be too similar to ones already in use for moons or asteroids, and they can't be offensive to any culture.

Once you've settled on the names you'd like to nominate, it's time to take to Twitter to explain your choice in a single tweet to JupiterLunacy tagged NameJupitersMoons. The deadline for submissions is April Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels space. Follow us on Twitter Spacedotcom and on Facebook.