Moon Crater Named after Aviatrix Earhart

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March 29, 2015

Scientists have discovered a rare kind of crater on the Moon and named it after pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart.

The 124-mile-wide crater is on the Earth-facing side of the Moon but is underground and was found by NASA's Grail spacecraft, which had mapped the satellite's gravity field. Variations in the acceleration of gravity suggested that scientists should look a bit further. They then did some high-level mathematics and predicted that what they were seeing in the reports from the spacecraft was evidence of the huge underground crater. It was the first crater of its kind discovered in more than 100 years, scientists said.

The Moon has been the focus of several missions in recent years. Recent lunar-mapping missions have found evidence of water in the Moon's polar regions. Projects from countries other than the U.S., namely China and India, have targeted the Moon in recent years as well.

Fundamental work on the project was carried out by scientists at Purdue University, on whose faculty Earhart served from 1935 until she disappeared in 1937.

The International Astronomical Union is in charge of naming astronomical objects and features and would have to approve the name.


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