2
$\begingroup$

Seconds after Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon, Neil Armstrong announced: "Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed". This first informally, then later officially, gave a place name (although latinized) to the spot marked to this day by the Apollo 11 descent stage. Since that time, several other manned lunar landings have occurred, as have numerous robotic spacecraft landings on the Moon, Mars, and even Titan. Each of the non-roving landers effectively serve as place markers on their host worlds (and will for perhaps centuries or more); have place names been assigned to any of those sites e.g. "Pathfinder Station" or such? Was Tranquility Base a one-off, and if so, is it out of a matter of policy?

I am interested in named landing sites (locations named to essentially memorialize the landing event at that spot) at which an immobile artifact such as a lander, instrument package, etc. remains to "mark the spot". I would include artifacts such as the Viking and Pathfinder landers, Spirit, and Opportunity landers (despite being little more than platforms at the point the rovers were driven off). I would exclude resting locations of "debris" such as heat shields, backshells, parachutes, and "skycranes"; I wouldn't expect such locations to be worthy of naming.

$\endgroup$
4
  • $\begingroup$ All I've got is The Perseverance landing site has now been named for Octavia E. Butler. See also PIA24483: "NASA has named the landing site of the agency's Perseverance rover "Octavia E. Butler Landing," after the science fiction author Octavia E. Butler." $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 8 '21 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ Can we abbreviate that to OEB $\endgroup$ Mar 8 '21 at 5:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Curiosity's landing site was named 'Bradbury Landing' on what would have been Ray Bradbury's 92nd birthday, 22 August 2012. However, because Curiosity (like Perseverance) was set down by sky-crane there's nothing at the actual touchdown point. $\endgroup$
    – GordonD
    Mar 8 '21 at 10:31
  • $\begingroup$ The IAU recognises at least one other named landing site on the moon. $\endgroup$
    – Andrew
    Mar 8 '21 at 16:07
3
$\begingroup$

The name Tranquility Base was not decided officially prior to the landing of the Apollo 11 LEM.

Tranquility Base was named by Aldrin and Armstrong, and first announced by Armstrong when the Lunar Module Eagle landed.

Armstrong and Aldrin decided on using "Tranquility Base" just before the flight, telling only Capsule Communicator Charles Duke before the mission, so Duke would not be taken by surprise.

Although the name was designated by the Apollo astronauts, the International Astronomical Union officially recognizes the designation "Tranquility Base". It is listed on lunar maps as Statio Tranquillitatis, conforming to the standard use of Latin for lunar place names.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

The lunar crater that Surveyor 3 landed in was referred to as "Surveyor Crater" during the planning and flight of Apollo 12, which landed just outside that crater. Thus, it effectively names two separate landing sites. Unlike Apollo 11, which changed the LM call sign from "Eagle" to "Tranquility Base" for the duration of the surface stay, Apollo 12's LM remained "Intrepid". "Surveyor" was accepted as the name of the site by IAU in 1973.

The IAU database shows a bunch of things marked as "landing sites" that haven't actually been landed on, but merely named by Apollo astronauts; someone with more free time than I can cross-reference the coordinates of these with landing coordinates to figure out which ones are really landing sites.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.