Snowman (Apollo 12 site craterlet-complex name)
Lat: 3.2°S, Long: 23.4°W, Diam: 1 km, Depth: km, Rükl: 42
NASA mission planning chart The white circles indicate the expected spheres of influence of various craters in the planned Apollo 12 landing site. Surveyor crater provides the body of the Snowman, while Head (naturally) supplies his head, and Halo crater lies in the right arm. The IAU did not approve individual names for the left and right feet or the hands.
According to the explanation in IAU Transactions XVIB, this name represents "An arrangement of five craters around the large crater in which Surveyor 3 landed. The geometry resembles the fabled and familiar "snowman" figure."
From the APOLLO LUNAR SURFACE JOURNAL (Eric M. Jones), at 110:05:20 GET into the mission of Apollo 12 (A Visit to the Snowman):
- The Snowman is the cluster of craters that surrounds their target point. It can be seen slightly left of center on a large-scale map of the landing site. West is on the left. Surveyor Crater is centered at about N.3/29.5 and Head Crater - the Snowman's head - is immediately west of Surveyor Crater at N.4/28.6. The Snowman's feet are at N.4/30.7 and M.4/30.7. I have never been impressed that this pattern was easily called the Snowman. However, late in 1999, I was looking at one of the USGS site maps covering the immediate area around Surveyor Crater and really saw the Snowman for the first time. The key to success was to look at map LSE-7-6G with west at the top and to look, not at the craters, but at the white ejecta circles drawn around them by the geologists who prepared the map. As can readily be seen in a detail, the ejecta circles create a striking Snowman image. Although I can easily imagine Pete Conrad spotting the figure the first time he was shown the map, I do not yet know exactly how or when the Snowman got its name.
- Astronaut-named feature, Apollo 12 site.
- This name was approved at the 1976 meeting of the IAU.
- The name is quite unusual in designating a pattern of craters rather than an individual crater. Other examples include North Complex and South Cluster at the Apollo 15 site