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Why a crater on the moon is named ‘Mitra’?

Topics Covered:

  1. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


Why a crater on the moon is named ‘Mitra’?


What to study?

For Prelims: Naming of lunar craters.

For mains: how are they formed?


Context: On 23 August, Chandrayaan-2 captured images of various craters on the moon while passing over its north polar region. Of the various craters, it spotted one called ‘Mitra’.


Why is it named so?

It is an impact based crater named after noted Indian physicist Sisir Kumar Mitra.

The name was given by Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN), part of International Astronomical Union (IAU), after a successful review in 1970, seven years after the death of Mitra.


How are craters on moon named?

  1. Typically, members of an appropriate IAU task group suggest names when the first images of the surface of a planet or satellite is obtained but as higher resolution images become available, a specific name is recommended.
  2. The suggested names are reviewed by the task force which submits it to the Working Group to take a final call based on votes.


About Sisir Kumar Mitra:

  1. Mitra led the research in ionosphere–the upper region of the atmosphere–and radiophysics.
  2. He was the first to introduce the teaching of radio communication in India.
  3. His book, ‘Upper Atmosphere’ published in 1947 is still considered the Bible for research workers in the field of ionosphere.
  4. In 1950s, he advocated space research and high altitude rocket research programmes which had been successfully conducted by US and USSR.
  5. Soon after his death in 1963, India set up rocket and launching stations near the geomagnetic equatorial line and a large number of rockets and satellites were fired, bringing invaluable information of the upper atmosphere and beyond.


How are Lunar craters formed?

  1. Moon craters are bowl-shaped landforms created by two processes: volcanism and cratering. There are hundreds of thousands of moon craters ranging from less than a mile across to giant basins called mare, which were once thought to be seas.
  2. The largest crater on the Moon is called South Pole-Aitkin Basin. It’s about 1,600 miles across (2,500 kilometers). It’s also among the oldest of the Moon’s impact basins and formed just a few hundred million years or so after the Moon itself was formed.
  3. Because of the Moon’s lack of water, atmosphere, and tectonic plates, there is little erosion, and craters are found that exceed two billion years in age.


For Overview Chandrayaan- 2, refer:

Sources: the Hindu.