Crater on moon named for late Tucson scientist
Elisabetta "Betty" Pierazzo, a leading expert in the modeling of impact crater formation who worked at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, now has one of those craters named after her. Pierazzo Crater, on the far side of the moon, is nine kilometers wide, with debris spread more than 450 kilometers from its rim.
Pierazzo, who died from cancer in 2011, now has "a fitting memorial to her research," said Mark Sykes, director of the institute. "It is wonderful that Betty is being honored with a lunar crater."
From a PSI news release:
The nine-kilometer diameter crater is located on the far side of the Moon. Bright rays of ejected material extend more than 450 kilometers from the crater rim, suggesting that the crater was formed by a relatively recent impact event. Furthermore, new high-resolution images obtained from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter suggest that rocks melted by the impact event were thrown out as part of the rocky ejecta around the crater, and launched tens of kilometers from its rim.
The naming of the crater for Pierazzo was approved by the International Astronomical Union this month.
From the institute:
Pierazzo was passionate about education, teaching and public outreach, developing planetary-related classroom materials, professional development workshops for teachers, and teaching college-level classes herself. Betty believed in the strength of broad collaborations in all of her research and education activities. The Planetary Science Institute Pierazzo International Student Travel Award was started in 2014 to support and encourage graduate students to build international collaborations and relationships in planetary science. This award memorializes the scope of how she lived her life and the good she sought to bring to our profession and communities.
In addition to her contributions to impact cratering, Betty was an active member of the public outreach community. She brought impact science to public schools in Arizona and beyond. Before her passing, Betty served as co-editor of a new book on impact cratering, "Impact Cratering: Processes and Products." This was a much-needed contribution to the scientific community, given that there are so few academic books on such a complex and important topic in the field of planetary geosciences.