Albert Einstein. George Takei. Jerry Garcia.
All of those men and many others have had an asteroid named after them. And if William Lowell Putnam III, trustee of Lowell Observatory, has his way, another name will be added to that list: Trayvon Martin.
The retired broadcast executive, alpinist, author and Flagstaff resident believes that Martin has not received justice.
It was an unusually warm night at Anderson Mesa south of Flagstaff on Oct. 2, 2000, when Lowell Observatory astronomers found the asteroid 2000 TM61. It was just one of hundreds that observatory’s researchers discovered as part of their search for Near Earth Asteroids.
The minor planet was placed into a catalog and forgotten until shortly after Martin, 17, was fatally shot in Sanford, Fla. The unarmed teen’s death sparked nationwide protests and renewed the race debate in America.
It also sparked disgust with Putnam.
“As I see it, the social fairness showed to Trayvon Martin was very sadly lacking,” he said. “Inasmuch as I am the sole trustee of an institution which has some naming privileges, I want to do my share to see that this lad is remembered in an appropriate manner.”