The Inconstant Moon
June 23, 2002 11:33 AM   Subscribe

The Inconstant Moon is dedicated to our nearest neighbor. Explore the moon with the Selenographica. Also, this Tuesday, Nova will re-broadcast To the Moon, the story of the the science and engineering behind mans trip to the moon. Its been 100 years since Melies' dream. Will the U.S. return? Or will someone else?
posted by vacapinta (7 comments total)
Also, be sure to check out the Music menu (lower right) on Inconstant Moon
posted by vacapinta at 12:12 PM on June 23, 2002

The selenographica is beautiful, mystical, fascinating. I had no idea so many craters and surface irregularities had been named.
posted by iconomy at 4:59 PM on June 23, 2002

We've had a long time to look at it, iconomy. A long, long time. Ever since we've had telescopes there has been a tradition of naming features, and it's completely formalized now that we regularly (more or less) accumulate more photography of other planets. It's far more detailed than even these maps show -- the USGS created highly precise maps of the moon during the Lunar Surveyor era for use in determining landing sites for Apollo. Similarly today the process centers around two poles: one, the utilitarian aspect of planetology, as well as mission planning; and two, the romantic one of immortality for a favored mentor or even just a family member (someday, I hope Mount Marilyn [Lovell] becomes official), since craters especially are typically named after people. A short history of lunar cartography shows how it worked, somewhat randomly, for hundreds of years; in the last century it was formalized under the International Astronomical Union, and today your name must pass muster with the working group for planetary nomenclature to be considered official. They also have there catalogs of named features.
posted by dhartung at 10:40 PM on June 23, 2002

There's a crater called Hendrix. Named, of course, after Don Hendrix, American optician.

And there are several that just have names. First name. Carlos. Carol. Charles. Ching-Te. Courtney. It goes on. Edith. Grace. Harold. There's an Osama. There's a Romeo but no Juliette (though the Fench Julienne is there). There's a Linda (and a Lovelace, though they're not hooked up). There's a Boris and a Natasha.

And the names of the seas of the moon are beautiful.
posted by pracowity at 11:10 PM on June 23, 2002

Ugh, you guys aren't still buying into that whole "moon" thing, are you?
posted by anildash at 12:41 PM on June 24, 2002

There's an Osama.

Ooh, time for the historical revisionists to jump into action! It will become a priority for Congress to pass a resolution (nonbinding, but that's never stopped 'em) renaming this the "Victory Crater." Or perhaps "Patriot Crater," if that's taken already. Better delay that education reform a little longer while they take care of this.
posted by rushmc at 1:03 PM on June 24, 2002

At least they haven't (yet) tried to put a flag there that would be visible from earth.
posted by pracowity at 10:47 PM on June 24, 2002

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