According to the International Astronomical Union, all new planetary craters must be named after famous artists. Mars has an Asimov crater and a Tolstoy crater; Mercury has a Dickens crater. Now that a mission to Mercury (helmed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab) has mapped five more craters, they need names.
The MESSENGER project is hosting a contest to determine the names of the five impact craters on Mercury. The competition is open to “all citizens of Earth” (unless you work on the mission); the names must honor people who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to the arts and humanities. They must have been recognized as significant for more than 50 years, and been dead for at least 3 years (so no Robin Williams crater, sorry). They can’t overlap with any currently named space feature. Finally, they can’t have “political, religious or military significance” — because space is no place for those kinds of arguments, I presume.
There’s already a Poe (Mercury) and a Stein (Venus) crater, but there isn’t a Simone (Nina) or a Mencken (H.L.) or a Zappa (Frank). Those are my picks for Baltimoreans who deserve the honor. Who would you name a space crater after?
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