Van Serg

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Van Serg (Apollo 17 site craterlet name)

Lat: 20.2°N, Long: 30.8°E, Diam: 0 km, Depth: km, Rükl: 25

external image normal_Apollo_17_Shakespeare-Chochise-Van_Serg_craters.JPG
Apollo 17 Site Traverses Chart


LPOD Photo Gallery Lunar Orbiter Images Apollo Images
Dave Byrne's assembled panorama of color-Hasselblad photographs made by Gene Cernan of Apollo 17, near the rim of Van Serg crater.
Source: Eric M. Jones's Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (ALSJ).


(LAC zone 43D1) LAC map Geologic map LTO map


Description: Wikipedia

Van Serg (correct link)

Additional Information

The Landing Site Name "Van Serg" is plotted on Topophotomap 43D1/S1 and Site Traverses chart 43D1S2.
  • Van Serg (crater) - "Professor Hugh McKinstry, one of the leading exploration mining geologists of this century, wrote many educational satires under the pseudonym Nicholas Van Serg. The name honors him and all professors who, through dedication and ability, have infused the wisdom of the past into the understanding of the present." (source: APOLLO LUNAR SURFACE JOURNAL, Eric M. Jones).
  • Jack Schmitt (Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 17) named this crater after Harvard Professor Hugh Exton McKinstry (1896-1961), who used "Van Serg" as a pen name in a series of scientific satires. ALSJ-contributor Brian Lawrence discovered a discussion of Van Serg in the May 1997 issue of Harvard Magazine in the College Pump section. The item was contributed by mathematician (Harvard AB 1947 and MA 1948) and satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer and is reproduced here with permission from Harvard Magazine Editor John S. Rosenberg. Lehrer wrote "The geology department was near the Vanserg building, and Professor McKinstry must have known the name. (He may even have dined there, as it was for some years the home of the graduate dining hall.) As far as I know, there is no such name as Van Serg in any language. It is therefore reasonable to assume that he took his pen name from the name of the building, spelling it 'Van Serg' to make it sound more like a surname. The Vanserg building is a 'temporary' building, erected at the end of World War II to house various departments. (The roster has changed over the years; it has included the mathematics department and--currently--expository writing and history and literature.) Since the building was meant to be temporary, there was no benefactor after whom to name it, so they used an acronym of the names of the original tenants, namely Veterans Administration, Naval Science, Electronic Research, and Graduate dining hall. (This fact appears to be known only to those who were around at the time.) Thus there is a crater on the moon which derives its name from a Harvard acronym." The Pump's editor concludes "The Pump is advised by Owen Gingerich, professor of astronomy and the history of science, that the International Astronomical Union lists Van Serg not as a crater but as a 'lunar feature named by an Apollo 17 astronaut.' And who could that have been? The prime suspect has to be Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, Ph.D. '64." (source: APOLLO LUNAR SURFACE JOURNAL, Eric M. Jones, Apollo 17 journal page Geology Station 9 at Van Serg).


  • Astronaut-named feature, Apollo 17 site.
  • Here is the extraordinary story of "Van Serg".
  • Immediately south-southwest of Van Serg is a larger crater which seems to have been called Gatsby. Some distance to the southeast of both Van Serg and Gatsby is a small crater which seems to have been called San Luis Rey (source: APOLLO 17 Preliminary Science Report).- DannyCaes May 6, 2014

LPOD Articles


David M. Harland: EXPLORING THE MOON, the Apollo expeditions.