Beatles Legend Among Those Honored with Mercury Craters


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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) -- the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 -- recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to 10 impact craters on Mercury. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after "deceased artists, musicians, painters, and authors who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their field and have been recognized as art historically significant figures for more than 50 years."

The newly named craters:

* Barney, for Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972), an American-French playwright, poet, and novelist.

* Berlioz, for Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), a French Romantic composer best known for his compositions "Symphonie fantastique" and "Grande messe des morts."

* Calder, for Alexander Calder (1898-1976), an American sculptor best known as the originator of the mobile, a type of kinetic sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended components that move in response to motor power or air currents.

* Capote, for Truman Capote (1924-1984), an American author whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction include the novella "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and the true-crime novel "In Cold Blood."

* Caruso, for Enrico Caruso (1873-1921), an Italian tenor who sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and the Americas and appeared in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic.

* Ensor, for James Sidney Ensor (1860-1949), a Belgian painter and printmaker, considered an important influence on expressionism and surrealism.

* Giambologna, for Jean Boulogne Giambologna (1529-1608), a Dutch sculptor known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.

* Lennon, for John Winston Ono Lennon (1940-1980), an English songwriter, musician, and singer who rose to worldwide fame as a founding member of the Beatles, the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of popular music.

* Remarque, for Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970), a German author best known for his novel "All Quiet on the Western Front," which depicted the horrors of war from the viewpoint of young German soldiers.

* Vieira da Silva, for Maria Elena Vieira da Silva (1908-1992), a Portuguese-born French painter of intricate, semiabstract compositions.

These ten newly named craters join 114 other craters named since the MESSENGER spacecraft's first Mercury flyby in January 2008. More information about the names of features on Mercury and the other objects in the solar system can be found at the U.S. Geological Survey's planetary nomenclature website: http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/

"The MESSENGER team is delighted that the IAU has named an additional 10 impact craters on Mercury," said MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of Columbia University. "We are particularly pleased that eight of the 10 individuals honored made all or many of their artistic contributions in the twentieth century, the same century in which the MESSENGER mission was conceived, proposed, and approved for flight. Imagine."

Contact:

Paulette Campbell

+1 (240) 228-6792

paulette.campbell@jhuapl.edu

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 18, 2011 (UTC), to begin its primary mission -- a yearlong study of its target planet. MESSENGER's first extended mission began on March 18, 2012, and ended one year later. MESSENGER is now in a second extended mission, which is scheduled to conclude in March 2015. Sean C. Solomon, the Director of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.

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