Geeks cried “Huzzah!” this week when, in a curious “worlds collide” collision between fantasy and science, a crater on the planet Mercury was named after J.R.R. Tolkien.
According to International Science Times, Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, has been “immortalized on a cosmic scale” when scientists added Tolkien’s name, along with the names of eight other international artists, to several features on the surface of Mercury.
“The names were approved by the International Astronomical Union on August 6, and are all craters near Mercury’s northern pole,” said the news report. The ” Tolkien crater” is a “fairly large” one, as far as craters on Mercury go: some 30 miles in diameter.
Mercury does resemble Mordor. But I don’t see Mount Doom.
NASA’s Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging probe — or MESSENGER — identified the craters which needed names. Other artists, such as Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, were also honored.
And there was much rejoicing.