Black and white image of Hawke crater on the moon in a space labelled GROTRIAN
Image of Hawke crater courtesy of NASA/GSFC/ASU.
B. Ray Hawke

An international organization has named a crater on the moon after a former University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa scientist described as a “fearless advocate for lunar exploration.”

The International Astronomical Union–Planetary Nomenclature Committee approved the name “Hawke” for a 13.2-kilometer-diameter impact crater on the moon in honor and remembrance of B. Ray Hawke, a lunar researcher at the UH Hawaiʻi Institute for Geophysics and Planetology from 1978 to 2015.

Befitting Hawke’s research interests and name, the crater positioned at 66.6oS, 128.7oE, just north of the Schrödinger basin is a young “rayed crater” (i.e., one with bright radial streaks of material thrown out during the formation of the crater). It contains deposits of impact melt, which formed due to the extreme heat associated with the impact event that formed the crater.

Hawke’s lunar geology interests included impact craters and volcanic deposits. He was a pioneer in advocating the use of the resources associated with pyroclastic (products of volcanic explosions) deposits by future inhabitants of the moon.

His scientific studies involved active collaborations with colleagues in Hawaiʻi and around the world, and their success was due to his generosity. He shared his ideas and knowledge and gave his time to help others.

In addition to his outstanding research career, Hawke was the founding director of the NASA Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center (PRPDC) at UH Mānoa from 1984 until his death on January 24, 2015.

Said current PRPDC Director Pete Mouginis-Mark, “Due to B. Ray’s commitment to planetary research, UH Mānoa has established one of the finest archives of planetary images dating back to the Apollo lunar missions and the early exploration of Mars, which will be a resource for younger scientists for years to come.”

Hawke also served tirelessly as the associate director for outreach for the Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium within the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology from its inception in 1991.

For more information, see the United States Geological Survey Planetary Nomenclature news release, download the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera/Wide Angle Camera image of Hawke crater, and see the B. Ray Hawke memorial page.

—By Marcie Grabowski