When Jim Lovell took his trip around the moon in 1968 aboard Apollo 8, he documented his orbit around the planet in great detail, taking note of the Sea of Tranquillity, where NASA would finally land Apollo 11. He took note of a mountain near the landing site and he named it Mount Marilyn, after his wife.
Mount Marilyn was very important during Apollo 11, as Neil Armstrong used it as a navigational beacon during the landing. But the feature isn’t officially recognized on any maps – along with several dozen other features named by astronauts.
For almost 50 years, The International Astronomical Union (IAU) refused to make the landmark names officials, sometimes citing them by using an asterisk.
In July, after multiple applications by both Arizona State University astronomer Mark Robinson and Jim Lovell himself, the IAU reversed the decision for 3 names landmarks – including Mount Marilyn – without explanation. Lovell, having kept the name and the campaign secret from his Wife, was happy to finally reveal it.
“She was quite amazed…In exploration, there’s romanticism too” – Jim Lovell
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