PASADENA, Calif., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Two craters on Mars have been given new names to honor the Apollo spacecraft that carried the second crew of American astronauts to the moon, NASA said.
The craters, photographed by NASA's Opportunity rover, have been named "Yankee Clipper" and "Intrepid" for the November 1969 Apollo 12 mission command module and lunar lander, SPACE.com reported Monday.
Astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean touched down on the moon in the Intrepid lander on Nov. 19, 1969, while crewmate Dick Gordon remained in lunar orbit aboard the command module Yankee Clipper.
Bean, now 78, said in a message to the Mars rover team it was a "wonderful honor" to have Mars craters named after the Apollo 12 spacecraft.
The idea to name the craters came from rover science team member James Rice, NASA officials said.
"The Apollo missions were so inspiring when I was young, I remember all the dates," Rice said. "When we were approaching these craters, I realized we were getting close to the Nov. 19 anniversary for Apollo 12."
Opportunity drove past the crater Yankee Clipper on Nov. 4 and arrived at the Intrepid crater on Nov. 9. The Yankee Clipper crater is about 33 feet wide, while the Intrepid crater is twice that size.