Naming THAT crater…

Look at it – just look at it, sitting there all big and round and… cratery… Why hasn’t THAT crater on the farside of Endeavour got a name yet?

I’m sure they’re thinking about it… but my suggestion would be:

“Monkhouse Crater”, after Midshipman Jonathon Monkhouse.

Why? Who was he? Well, he was only one of Captain Crook’s crew who saved the Endeavour from sinking, after being holed on a coral reef, that’s who!

From the website:

“Cook was understandably much more worried about saving the ship itself; and his main problem was the expedition-threatening leak in the Endeavour’s hull. Jonathan Monkhouse, one of Cook’s midshipmen, suggested a way to at least control the leak – a technique called “fothering”. Monkhouse had once seen it used on a voyage from Virginia to London, and Cook promptly put him in charge of applying his knowledge to the Endeavour.

Cook reports:

He took a lower studding sail, and having mixed together a large quantity of oakham and wool, chopped pretty small, he stitched it down in handfuls upon the sail, as lightly as possible, and over this he spread the dung of our sheep and other filth . . . . When the sail was thus prepared, it was hauled under the ship’s bottom by ropes, which kept it extended, and when it came under the leak, the suction which carried in the water, carried in with it the oakham and wool from the surface of the sail, which in other parts the water was not sufficiently agitated to wash off.

“The operation was a success, and the dangerous leak was much reduced. (Incidentally, oakum – Cook’s “oakham” – is loosely twisted rope fibre that has been impregnated with tar and is used for caulking seams in wooden hulls.) ”

Isn’t that a heck of a story! I’ve submitted this suggestion, but no response yet. (Maybe the reference to “dung of our sheep and other filth” put them off! )

One of my fellow UMSF members pointed out that naming THAT crater after a person would break with the tradition of naming craters encountered by Oppy on her journey after famous ships of exploration. Yep, that’s very true, and I had thought about that, but it would be so… well… fitting. Just think: that crater is a hole in Endeavour, and that Midshipman helped fix a hole in the ship Endeavour… Cook praised his efforts in his journals, as you read above. What a great gesture that would be, for NASA to honour the work of a humble midshipman, who helped save one of the most famous ships of exploration in history, by naming a crater on an alien world after him – a crater inside the crater that bears the name of the very ship that sailor saved, through his ingenuity, all those years earlier. I love that idea, I just love it.

Think of the Outreach value of that… 🙂

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