Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why did they name a moon crater after Amelia Earhart?” you ask? Good question. Timely, too. (Besides, it beats answering the question: “Why does my great-grandma smell that way?” Seriously? Wait until you get old. You’d best hope you die before you get old as The Who song goes. D@mn kids have no respect for their elders.)
From that question we can only assume you missed the story recently published by occasional “Why” contributor and ALW colleague Jordanna. (Shame on you!) Let’s do a quick review and you can go read her piece as soon as you finish here.
This past Monday, Professor Jay Melosh and a team of researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana announced at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas, that they had discovered one of the widest craters on the moon. This huge crater had somehow been undetected despite centuries of lunar observations.
Melosh and company discovered it through the use of data collected by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL). They quickly were calling the crater “Earhart” after the aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart. It seemed apropos since Earhart was actually an advisor and career counselor to the Department of Aeronautics at Purdue from 1935 to 1937.
Furthermore, Melosh added: “This is one of the biggest craters on the Moon, but no one knew it was there. Craters are named after explorers or scientists, and Amelia Earhart had not yet received this honor. She attempted a flight around the world, and we thought she deserved to make it all the way to the Moon for inspiring so many future explorers and astronauts.”
Why did they name a moon crater after Amelia Earhart? Now you know.
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