INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION
DELAYS DESIGNATION OF CRATERS TO
HONOR FALLEN COLUMBIA ASTRONAUTS
Lunar Republic Society proposal expected to be
considered again during 2006 IAU General Assembly following
standard waiting period for crater designation.
NEW YORK (15 August 2003) — The Lunar
Republic Society, an international organization advocating the privatized
exploration, settlement and development of the Moon, has received
notification that its proposal for the designation of craters to
honor the fallen crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) will
not be considered this year.
proposal, which the Society had expected to be presented at the
International Astronomical Union’s recent General Assembly in
Sydney, Australia, called for the designation of seven craters in
the territory near Crater Colombo on the Moon’s visible side.
The IAU reportedly was considering an alternative proposal to
designate a group of craters on the so-called Lunar farside in the
The IAU has previously selected
craters in the Apollo Basin as the location for astronaut and
cosmonaut memorials due to its abundance of large unnamed craters.
American astronauts Virgil (Gus) Grissom, Ed White and Roger
Chaffee, who perished in the 1967 launchpad fire aboard the first
Apollo spacecraft, are honored with craters in this area, as are
the crew members of the ill-fated 1984 Space Shuttle Challenger
mission, which included the first teacher-astronaut, Christa
The Apollo Basin is also the home of
three craters named for three living astronauts — Frank Borman,
Jim Lovell and Bill Anders — who were the first humans to view
the far side of the Moon aboard the 1968 flight of Apollo 8.
The Lunar Republic Society proposal before
the IAU Lunar Task Group of the Working Group for Planetary System
Nomenclature requested consideration for seven small craters
surrounding Crater Colombo, which was named for the Italian
explorer known familiarly as Christopher Columbus. The Space
Shuttle Columbia's name is derived from that of Columbus.
The craters selected by the Lunar
Republic Society to receive designation are currently identified by
letters as "child craters" to the larger Colombo, which spans
a diameter of 76 kilometers. The craters are intended to honor the
memory of Columbia crew members Rick D. Husband (mission
commander), William C. McCool (pilot), Michael P. Anderson
(payload commander), David M. Brown (mission specialist), Kalpana
Chawla (mission specialist), Laurel Blair Salton Clark (mission
specialist) and Ilan Ramon (payload specialist). The crew perished
when their spacecraft disintegrated during re-entry on February 1,
The International Astronomical Union
will reportedly consider Columbia memorial proposals at its
General Assembly in 2006. IAU protocol generally calls for a
three-year waiting period following the death of an individual
before consideration is given for naming craters after that
At its most recent General Assembly
in Sydney, the IAU accepted re-designation of seven asteroids in
honor of the Columbia crew. Located in the asteroid belt between
Mars and Jupiter, the seven small, rock-like bodies are estimated
to be between five and seven kilometers wide.
In October 2002, the
IAU removed the designation of a crater named for an
accused Nazi war criminal, Dr. Hans Eppinger, Jr., as the result
of an inquiry started by the Lunar Republic Society.
To Designate Craters In Honor Of The Space Shuttle Columbia Crew Members
Media:Luna™ is the official news
agency of The Lunar Republic.
Media:Luna™ and the agency's logo
are trademarks of Lunar Republic
All rights reserved.
Product Name: Media File
Product Code: MF
Author: MediaLuna Staff
Alt. Format: PDF