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Home >> Science Technology >> Mercury Crater Named After John Lennon

Mercury Crater Named After John Lennon

Posted on : Jan 22,2014

It is unlikely that Mercury's surface is populated with "tangerine trees and marmalade skies," but the famous British musician who coined that phrase now has a physical presence on the planet closest to the Sun.

'Lennon' is one of ten newly named craters on the planet, joining 114 other craters named since NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft's first Mercury flyby in January 2008, NASA said.

"The MESSENGER team is delighted that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named an additional 10 impact craters on Mercury," said MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of Columbia University, who suggested Lennon.

"We are particularly pleased that eight of the 10 individuals honoured made all or many of their artistic contributions in the Twentieth Century, the same century in which the MESSENGER mission was conceived, proposed, and approved for flight. Imagine," said Solomon.

The IAU has been the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919.

In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after "deceased artists, musicians, painters, and authors who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their field and have been recognised as art historically significant figures for more than 50 years."

David Blewett, a MESSENGER participating scientist, said there is a practical reason for naming craters.

"After a while, identifying craters by their latitude and longitude becomes laborious. Assigning names to the craters makes it easier for scientists to communicate about them, share notes and observations," Blewett said.

Lennon rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of the Beatles, the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of popular music. He died in 1980 aged 40 in New York.

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