NASA spacecraft’s subsequent flyby goal wants a cool nickname

This artist’s idea exhibits one interpretation of what MU69 may seem like.


NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez

We’ve littered the universe with nifty nicknames. There’s the Red Planet (Mars), the Tarantula Nebula (30 Doradus) and The Whale (a darkish area on Pluto). Now it is time to spiff up the tongue-tying moniker of “(486958) 2014 MU69,” a chilly world situated method out  within the Kuiper Belt that can be the following vacation spot for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.

NASA and the SETI Institute are becoming a member of as much as give the general public a shot at arising with a brand new nickname for MU69. You can try present solutions, vote for names and nominate your individual by way of SETI’s Frontier Worlds web site. 

Your fellow house followers are already busy nominating and voting. Just in time for the discharge of “Thor: Ragnorak,” one of many main vote-getters is “Mjölnir” for the superhero’s hammer. Some of the opposite main nominations are “Pluck & Persistence” (qualities of the spacecraft), “Peanut, Almond, Cashew” (attainable shapes for MU69) and “Z’ha’dum” (a fictional planet from sci-fi present “Babylon 5”). Voting continues till Dec. 1.

“Kuiper McKuiperface” is suspiciously lacking from the names into account, that are vetted and narrowed down by SETI earlier than going up for vote. The chosen nickname will go into use within the lead-up to New Horizons’ scheduled flyby on Jan. 1, 2019. 

MU69 continues to be largely a thriller, however NASA thinks it may probably be made up of two or extra small objects with a diameter of as much as 12 miles (18 kilometers) every. Scientists will suggest a proper identify as soon as New Horizons will get a greater take a look at it. 

New Horizons first launched in 2006 and made an enormous splash when it reached dwarf planet Pluto in 2015. The plucky spacecraft can have traveled a further 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) by the point it reaches its subsequent goal, however we can have a pleasant new nickname for MU69 properly earlier than then.


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