I keep waking up and not knowing where I am. In the last week, I’ve been in Pavilion Lake, Vancouver, Williamsburg, New Orleans, and now New Jersey. Four days from now I’ll be on my way to the Arctic. There’s not a lot for me to do right now. I’ve been thinking about packing (there’s only room for one backpack of stuff … yikes), and have spent a good bit of time drooling over Google Earth’s vision of Axel Heiberg Island, trying to familiarize myself with the fiords and glaciers of the area.

I’ve also been lonesomely thinking back on my time at Pavilion Lake. One thing I really ought to do is finish watching Apollo 13. How weird is it that I’d never seen that movie before?? We started watching it one night, but everyone was too exhausted to make it to the end.

The lovely Masha, whom I met at Pavilion Lake, recently pointed out in an email that the Apollo lunar missions totally could’ve used a better name. Why would you name the lunar program after the god of light and archery? Why not at least name it Artemis?

The Apollo Program was named by Abe Silverstein. According to a New York Times article, there was “No specific reason for it … It was just an attractive name.”

And according to the book Apollo, Silverstein also stated, “I was naming the spacecraft like I’d name my baby.”

Whatever that means.

Anyway, I’ve done some cursory research on the names of lunar deities from a number of cultures. I think it would be sweet if we named our next moon mission after one of these gods:

  • Ta’lab (Arabian)
  • Sin (Babylonian)
  • Lair báln (Celtic)
  • Thoth (Egyptian)
  • Phoebe (Greek)
  • Mama Quilla (Incan … though I doubt anybody would take a spacecraft named “Mama Quilla” seriously)
  • Igaluk (Inuit)
  • Kalfu (Vodou)

…and my personal favorite, from Aztec mythology:

  • Coyolxauhqui

Yeah. NASA will definitely go for that.