Purdue alumnus names lake on Saturn's largest moon after Indiana's Lake Freeman
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Lake Freeman in Monticello, Ind., now has a namesake more than 800 million miles away on Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
The International Astronomical Union recently approved the name suggested by Robert Brown, a Purdue University alumnus and Lafayette native who leads the science team that runs the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
Brown's team discovered the approximately 12-mile-long methane lake while taking measurements and observing the moon in January. He proposed the name Lake Freeman after the Indiana lake where his family often vacationed during his childhood.
"Lake Freeman is where I first learned to water ski, and I have many fond memories of my time there," Brown said. "Now it has a namesake on one of the most fascinating planetary objects in our solar system. I expect the Lake Freeman on Titan will be studied by many generations and perhaps one day human explorers will stand on its shore."
Brown, who lived in Lafayette from 1953 to 1975, earned his bachelor's degree in management and computer science and master's degree in physics from Purdue in 1971 and 1975, respectively. He earned his doctorate in astronomy from the University of Hawaii and is currently a professor of planetary surface processes at the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona.
The unmanned Cassini spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004. NASA extended the spacecraft's mission twice and it will explore the Saturn system until 2017.
More information about the Cassini spacecraft and the current Cassini Solstice Mission is available at https://Saturn.jpl.nasa.gov
Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, email@example.com
Source: Robert Brown, 520-626-9045, firstname.lastname@example.org