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There's Now a Spot On the Moon Named After Sally Ride

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Sally Ride and the spot on the moon named for her (Photo courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/ASU /Sally Ride Science)
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To pay tribute the late pioneering female American astronaut Sally Ride, NASA announced today they have named in her honor the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon.

Ride, who died in July at age 61, was not only this nation's first woman in space, but also a member of the probes' mission team, according to NASA.

Those probes, named Ebb and Flow, are the two spacecraft that make up NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. They made impact as commanded Monday on a mountain near the moon's north pole. "The location of the Sally K. Ride Impact Site is on the southern face of an approximately 1.5-mile-tall (2.5-kilometer) mountain near a crater named Goldschmidt," details NASA.

The impact also marked the end of the GRAIL mission.

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Ride "led GRAIL's MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) Program through her company, Sally Ride Science, in San Diego," adds NASA.

Project manager David Lehman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said the GRAIL mission was one "filled with great science and engineering data."

GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge noted: "[W]e are proud we can honor Sally Ride's contributions by naming this corner of the moon after her."

So that little black spot on the moon could now be the one named after Sally Ride.