I found out that pilot and horse trainer Beryl Markham (about whom I wrote <here>) has a crater named after her on Venus. Here is Magellan radar imagery with map overlay.

The impact crater and its rays lie atop a lava flow that is radar-bright, almost certainly due to its rough, rocky texture. It is a very clean crater, with a central peak. It lies off the northeastern corner of Aphrodite Terra just south of the equator.

Venusian craters larger than twenty kilometers are named after noteworthy women. Names are suggested to the International Astronomical Union, vetted, discussed, agonized over, and finally voted on and adopted. Then, miraculously in this fractious age, astronomers and planetary geologists accept the names and use them thereafter (without moaning about it or starting Twitter wars).

I am very pleased Markham is memorialized there because I am such a fan. I found five other aviators whose names have been adopted for craters on Venus, too. Perhaps I should discuss them in later posts.

Imagery from the USGS, courtesy of NASA’s Magellan mission.

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