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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Defending Mount Marilyn: Apollo 8 versus IAU

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Author Topic:   Defending Mount Marilyn: Apollo 8 versus IAU
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27886
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-03-2013 12:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As New Scientist reports, when Apollo 8 carried humans to orbit the moon for the first time in December 1968, crew members hoped they would get to pick the names of various lunar features.

But the features they chose for their names, and for a lunar mountain, were not selected by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which has led Jim Lovell and Bill Anders to now protest.

...recent letters to New Scientist from two Apollo astronauts – including Apollo 13 crew member Jim Lovell – show that even blazing a trail into space and setting eyes on off-world features for the first time is no guarantee of success.

...Anders says he made his feelings clear to the International Astronomical Union, responsible for naming celestial objects. "I wrote to the IAU to try to correct this and even included the flight map. I got brushed off by its bureaucracy – and never got my map back," he writes.

Both Lovell and Anders got in touch with us in the wake of our recent story on the IAU's decision to consider public input when naming newly discovered exoplanets and other space objects.

When contacted by New Scientist, the IAU said it had been unaware of the controversy and that it is hard to comment on the process given the time that has elapsed. It is possible that NASA, rather than the astronauts, communicated with the IAU over the choice of craters, said a spokesperson.

mode1charlie
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Posts: 474
From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 10-03-2013 03:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very disappointing. Hopefully the IAU will correct this historical error.

bwhite1976
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From: belleville, IL USA
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 10-03-2013 06:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This topic has always confounded me. The astronauts of Apollo 8 are the first people in human history to visit the moon and see these craters with their own eyes. They are the first explorers to the moon. Why does the IAU refuse to change these crater names? For goodness sake, a group of people erased Pluto from its planetary status. Another group of people can't change the name of a few craters on the moon?

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 10-03-2013 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bureaucracy. The densest matter known to mankind. "And in the end, bureaucracy begat upon itself a black hole of it's own creation, and all that was created ceased to exist."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-03-2013 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim Lovell was on BBC Radio 5's "Up All Night" recently to discuss the issue.
The IAU recently said that it would consider public opinion in future when naming objects - which has prompted Lovell to ask for "Mount Marilyn" to be recognised as an official name.

fredtrav
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From: Birmingham AL USA
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posted 10-03-2013 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Simple solution, have NASA and all official produced maps and other materials ignore the IAU and call it Mount Marilyn. If the IAU is relegated to a position of insignificance in this matter, they may have to rethink or risk becoming irrelevant. Of course this could lead to chaos if everyone who found an object named it what they wanted. Who knows, maybe Pluto would become a planet again.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 10-03-2013 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fredtrav:
relegated to a position of insignificance
The IAU has 10,000 astronomers as members and more than 70 nations (the United States included) are partners. Even if NASA were for some reason to ignore the IAU, it would not cause the organization or its registry to be insignificant.

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 10-03-2013 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The IAU may have based the demotion of Pluto from planet status on scientific evidence, I don't know.

But to deny the first explorers of the Moon the authority to name landmarks that aided in the landings is short-sighted at best.

The IAU are being bullies. I of course have more colorful feelings that I won't post. and give Bill Anders his map back!

mode1charlie
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From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 10-03-2013 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The IAU has 10,000 astronomers as members and more than 70 nations (the United States included) are partners. Even if NASA were for some reason to ignore the IAU, it would not cause the organization or its registry to be insignificant.
Yes, and the IAU has many good people who had nothing to do with this, would disagree with how it was handled, and will likely be embarrassed. It isn't clear from the article when this happened - I am assuming it was in the late 60s or early 70s? But in any event, it would have been handled by a couple of bumbling administrators, not "the IAU" writ large. Someone get Plait on this — he will know more.

Lou Chinal
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From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 10-03-2013 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have the IAU write down there explanation on the back of the map.

robsouth
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From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 10-03-2013 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am in two minds over this issue. On the one hand explorers have often named features they have discovered, on the other hand the leading nation in exploration at that time would get to name everything, thats why we have Victoria Falls, Ayers Rock and Mount Everest.

Some of the features named by the Apollo astronauts are very particular to Apollo or the U.S. for example Boot Hill, Sidewinder Rille and U.S. 1.

I wonder how people in the U.S. would respond to names given to features on the moon if the Soviet Union had beaten Apollo to the moon. Also how would the same people respond if China get to Mars and start naming everything in sight.

I also think that sometimes the names given to things can be a little frivolous, I often suspect that this is down to scientists trying to be zany and cool but when I hear some of the names given to things I whince. An example of this is some of the names given to some of the features viewed by the Mars rovers.

Having said all that I think Marilyn should have her mountain and a few of the names given to features during Apollo have been allocated to other features on the moon elsewhere. Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin, Borman, Lovell, Anders, Grissom, White and Chaffee are all examples of names given to craters that have also been given to the names of craters by the IAU.

schnappsicle
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From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 10-07-2013 07:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
I wonder how people in the U.S. would respond to names given to features on the moon if the Soviet Union had beaten Apollo to the moon.
The Soviets did beat the US to the moon and they did name the lunar features they discovered, including Tsiolkovskiy, Gagarin, Milne and Neujmin. Even the Apollo 15 crew named one of the craters in their landing site Salyut.

Yes, explorers have always been free to name the places they discovered. I think the IAU response to this issue shows clear disregard for the people who blazed the trail to the planets.

robsouth
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Posts: 618
From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 10-07-2013 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How did the Soviets get their names accepted and yet the Americans didn't?

On a different note, I find it surprising that Einstein isn't a more visible crater but I guess that all the nearside craters were named a long time ago.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27886
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-08-2013 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Defending Mount Marilyn: Astronauts want lunar landmark names recognized

If Google Maps existed back in 1969 and included directions for navigating to the surface of the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin might have plugged in "Tranquility Base" and been told to begin their descent by passing over "Mount Marilyn" on their way to mankind's first lunar landing.

Entering today a search on the real Google Moon website turns up no lunar features named "Mount Marilyn." It does however, find "Montes Secchi," the label later assigned to the same lunar mountain by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

"You can google 'Mount Marilyn' you know," James Lovell, who piloted the first manned spacecraft to circle the moon and later commanded Apollo 13, told collectSPACE.com, in reference to the overall search engine. "But it was never officially recognized by the IAU."

randy
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From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 10-09-2013 03:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Dr. McCoy so eloquently stated in Star Trek 4, "The burocratic mentality is the only constant in the universe." So true. Let's hope the IAU will let the names given by the crew stand.

All times are CT (US)

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