Local Kealakehe Student Wins Hawai'i State-wide
ILO-X Moon Camera Naming Contest

ILO-X Moon Camera

November 14, 2022: The International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA Hawaiʻi) is very pleased to announce the winning name for its ILO-X Moon Camera Naming Contest held statewide, online from March-May 2022. The name Ka ʻImi will represent the first ever camera from a Hawaiʻi-based organization to land on the surface of the Moon. This name was submitted by a student at Kealakehe Intermediate School in Kailua-Kona on Hawaiʻi Island.

The translation suggested by our winning student for Ka ʻImi is “to search”. This is fitting for what ILOA’s narrow-field camera, Ka ʻImi will do upon its arrival to the Lunar surface. One of Ka ʻImi’s main goals is to take the first image of the Milky Way Galaxy from the surface of the Moon.

“Ka ʻImi is a perfect name for this camera since it will be our [Hawaiʻi’s] first mission to the Moon,” said James Kimo Keliʻi Pihana, a veteran Hawaiʻi island cultural practitioner and board member for ILOA. “As human beings, we are beginning again to return to the Moon. As Hawaiians, we are returning to Hina, the goddess.”

Pihana was one of five volunteer judges who selected the name Ka ʻImi from submissions by Hawaiʻi students. Other judges included Leilehua Yuen of Hālau Leimanu, Amber Imai-Hong from the Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory, Shelly Pelfrey from the W. M. Keck Observatory, and Hiʻilani Shibata from the Ka Mahina Project. Submissions came from public and charter schools on Hawaiʻi Island, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi.

“We were really happy with the participation we received,” said Steve Durst, the Founding Director of ILOA, “It’s crucial that next generation students be involved in what we’re doing. The exploration of space is their future.”

Ka ʻImi is one of two ILOA cameras atop the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander set to be launched and land on the Moon early 2023. One narrow field and one wide field, the cameras were designed and built in Canada and will be launched from Florida. Their journey is a reflection of the international endeavor astronomy encompasses and is a shining example of Hawaiʻi Astronomy and its collaborations with people from around the world.

Hawaiʻi Island residents can learn more about the Moon Camera Naming Contest and ILOA Hawaiʻi at ILOA’s upcoming free event - Galaxy Forum Hawai’i. The Galaxy Forum, a series of presentations, will take place on November 16, 2022 from 3:30-5:30pm at the Mana Christian ʻOhana in Kamuela, Hawaiʻi.

Click the image below to watch the ILO-X Moon Camera naming video which opened the state-wide Hawai'i contest for students