Monday, January 31, 2011

IAU names craters to honor Columbia crew

Columbia crater group, Apollo basin (Chang'e-2)
Craters in this grouping on the southeast side of the ancient Apollo basin have been preliminarily named in honor of the crew members of Space Shuttle Columbia, who perished during re-entry February 1, 2003.  Though some in the group seem to be large secondary craters from the same event Husband, formerly Borman L, is older than the others  Field of view from Chang'e-2 global high-Sun mosaic [CAS/CNSA/CLEP].
Keith Cowing, at the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Program (LOIRP) website "Moonviews" reports a crater grouping in Apollo basin (35.7°S, 208.0°E) has been provisionally designated by the International Astronomical Union to honor of each of the seven astronauts who died in the catastrophic failure of Space Shuttle Columbia February 1, 2003.

Columbia group, Apollo basin
Columbia crater group, in context with Apollo basin and craters there named after the Space Shuttle Challenger group, among others. The larger crater at center left, named in honor of Apollo 1 crew member Roger Chafee, is roughly 50 km across  [NASA/USGS/ASU].
Columbia crater group, lunar farside (LROC WAC DTM)
Locating the Columbia crater group (arrow) in Apollo basin, itself nested near the edge of the South Pole-Aitken basin, on an orthographic projection of the lunar farside. False color elevation map from LROC Wide Angle Camera digital terrain model (WAC DTM) [NASA/GSFC/ASU].

1 comment:

PillowNaut said...

Wonderful! Very glad to see this, and pleased the IAU gave them such a permanent memorial =)