NASA Wants Your Help Naming New Horizons’ Next Destination


Kuiper McKuiperface? That’s probably not going to be a winner, however NASA actually is in search of badist naming 2014 MU69, the icy Kuiper Belt object that the New Horizons spacecraft is on its method to go to. There are already eight present choices you may vote on, or you may provide your individual solutions. You solely have till December 1 to enter your solutions, so put your considering cap on.

Whatever NASA picks will solely be a casual title, which might be changed as soon as New Horizons will get a greater take a look at what MU69 truly is—scientists aren’t even positive but what number of objects are concerned, since latest ground-based work has advised there may truly be two shut neighbors, relatively than only one object.

Once New Horizons, which is because of arrive on January 1, 2019, clears up that little uncertainty, NASA and the mission workforce will resolve on the title(s) it actually desires to be utilizing. Then they are going to want the formal approval of the International Astronomical Union, which oversees all official names for options and objects in area. Like different Kuiper Belt objects, these last names will relate to mythologies from world wide.

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So far, the nicknames being thought-about embody particular person names in addition to twin and triplet choices. There’s no actual theme to date, as there may be with formal names, just like the options on Pluto and its moon Charon which might be being named primarily based on New Horizons’ first cease.

09_06_New_Horizons_MU69 An artist’s illustration of what New Horizons may seem like approaching 2014 MU69. Carlos Hernandez

The contenders you may vote on already are: Año Nuevo, commemorating the spacecraft’s arrival date; Camalor, the title of an alien metropolis situated within the Kuiper Belt in a novel known as Camelot 30Okay; Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, for Mt. Kilimanjaro’s three peaks; Mjölnir, which connects MU69’s potential form to the Norse god Thor’s hammer; Peanut, Almond, and Cashew relying on what nut each bit of the thing most resembles; Pluck and Persistence, in honor of New Horizons’ lengthy journey; Sagittarius, the constellation during which the thing seems to be situated; or Z’ha’dum, a reference to the ’90s tv sequence Babylon 5.

And you can even submit your individual candidates, though the web site for the vote is not clear on whether or not or when they are going to be added to the poll. “We are hoping that somebody out there proposes the perfect, inspiring name for MU69,” Mark Showalter, the NASA scientist who’s main the naming marketing campaign mentioned in a press launch.

NASA has promised to announce the successful nickname in January 2018, which can go away a full yr to invest in regards to the object utilizing the brand new terminology. Nice.

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