This was posted on USGS Astrogeology Science Center website yesterday: “The name Nancy has been approved for a crater on Venus located at 6.4N, 272.2E.” I checked with Jennifer Blue, who posts the latest nomenclature planetary news on the USGS site, wondering if the crater was named for anyone in particular or just Nancys in general. She told me that small craters (less than 20 km in diameter) on Venus are named with common female first names, while larger craters (over 20 km) are named for deceased women who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their field.
This crater is pretty small, and I’m not dead yet, fortunately, so it is not named for me.
“The crater named Nancy is not named for anyone in particular,” Jennifer wrote me. “But you could pretend that it was named for you!”
I think that’s what I’ll do.
UPDATE (8/08/12): I just got a note from Lizzy Tandberg Hall, who said that she named this crater after her mother, Nancy Clay Tandberg while mapping the Devana Chasma Quadrangle.
Here’s a link to a very interesting page, USGS’s “Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature” which gives the parameters for naming features on the planetary bodies in our solar system.
Nancy Crater. Kinda like the sound of that.
That was the name of the character in Star Trek that sucked all the salt out of people.
And wasn’t the planet where Nancy Crater was stationed really hot and arid?
Thanks to Emily Lakdawalla for bringing Nancy Crater to my attention!