A singular honor
On March 23, 2001, David Healy and Jeff Medkeff discovered an asteroid about a mile in diameter, in the asteroid belt on the Mars side of the solar system. It was designated 165612.
Now that asteroid is officially known as Stackpole. The International Astronomical Union approved the designation on March 21.
I am completely blown away. I can remember looking at images of the moon or Mars and seeing features named after famous people. I never figured my name might be up there somewhere. As Phil Plait so aptly notes in the post referenced below, this is a slice of immortality that goes beyond writing books.
It is a humbling honor.
And I’ve not stopped smiling since I got the call.
Phil Plait, the brilliant astronomer, writer and blogger, likewise has been honored. His blog entry on this (click the link above) goes more into the details of the process. He even has pictures.
I called my parents yesterday to let them know. It took my mom a moment or three to wrap her brain around it, but now she’s fully onboard. Literally. She wants to know when I’m building a house there and if there will be a place for her to visit. (I did say that naming didn’t confer ownership, but I think she chose not to hear that.)
Phil’s post has cool resources. If you click on this link, you can see a 3D render map, thanks to JPL, of where Stackpole orbits.