NASA has named the site where twinspacecraft hit the moon yesterday after late astronaut Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space and a member of the probes’ mission team.
Ebb and Flow, which comprised NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were directed last Friday to reach a lower orbit, resulting in an planned landfall at 2:28pm Pacific Time on Monday.
The Sally K. Ride Impact Site, as the crater where they hit is now called, is located on a 1.5 mile-high mountain near the moon’s north pole.
“Sally was all about getting the job done, whether it be in exploring space, inspiring the next generation, or helping make the GRAIL mission the resounding success it is today,” said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber. “As we complete our lunar mission, we are proud we can honor Sally Ride’s contributions by naming this corner of the moon after her.”
Ride, who died in July from with pancreatic cancer, led GRAIL’s MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) Program. Her obituary revealed she shared the last 27 years of her life with her girlfriend, Tam O’Shaughnessy.