Mareta West

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Mareta West
Born (1915-08-09)August 9, 1915
Died November 2, 1998(1998-11-02) (aged 83)

Mareta N. West (August 9, 1915 – November 2, 1998[1]) was an American astrogeologist who in the 1960s chose the site of the first manned lunar landing, Apollo 11. She was the first female astrogeologist. Her cremated remains were launched into space.

Early life[edit]

West was born August 9, 1915. She received her bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Oklahoma where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.[2]

West was a third-generation Oklahoman, her grandparents having moved to Indian Territory in 1889.[2]


In the 1940s, West worked as a petroleum geologist in the oil and gas industry before becoming the first woman geologist hired by the United States Geological Survey in Arizona.[2] She was the first woman astrogeologist.[2]

West chose the site of the Apollo 11 first manned lunar landing.[2]


  • Nuclear Power Reactor Sites in the Southeastern United States, 1978.
  • West Side of the Moon

Cremated remains launched into space[edit]

Her cremated remains were launched into space aboard a SpaceLoft-XL rocket on April 28, 2007 as part of the first commercial attempt to launch human remains for lunar "burial".[3] This was a sub-orbital launch, and the cremains were recovered afterwards. They were launched again on August 2, 2008, aboard a Falcon 1 rocket. The intended destination of this flight was low Earth orbit, however the rocket failed two minutes after launch.[4]


  1. ^ "Find A Grave - Mareta West (1915-1998)". Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Mareta West, (accessed October 24, 2013)
  3. ^ Firm offers Moon burial, BBC News.
  4. ^ Bergin, Chris (August 2, 2008). "SpaceX Falcon I fails during first stage flight". 

External links[edit]

American women scientists