Public invited to vote on nicknames for New Horizons’ subsequent goal


Laurel Kornfeld

November eighth, 2017

New Horizons spacecraft in Kuiper Belt image credit NASA JPL JHUAPL Carlos Hernandez

The group working NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is asking the general public for badist nicknaming the car’s subsequent goal. Image Credit: Carlos Hernandez

With just a bit over a yr remaining till New Horizons’ flyby of 2014 MU69, NASA is asking the general public for badist in selecting a nickname for the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO).

A naming marketing campaign very similar to that achieved for options on Pluto and its moons in 2015 is being organized by the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, led by SETI fellow and New Horizons science group member Mark Showalter.

“New Horizons made history with the first close-up look at Pluto, and is now on course for the farthest planetary encounter in the history of spaceflight,” mentioned Thomas Zurbuchen, affiliate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “We’re pleased to bring the public along on this exciting mission of discovery.”

An artist's impression of what MU69 might look like. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

An artist’s impression of what MU69 may appear like. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

MU69 is situated roughly one billion miles past Pluto and 4 billion miles (6.5 km) from Earth. It was found in 2014 by New Horizons scientists who used the Hubble Space Telescope to discover a second goal for the spacecraft.

It is roughly 1,000 occasions greater than Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which was orbited by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft however 500,000 occasions much less huge than Pluto.

Observations of MU69 performed this previous summer season, when it occulted or handed in entrance, of a star, counsel it could possibly be a double-lobed object like Comet 67P, a swarm of objects, or a binary system comprised of two objects.

Participants within the naming venture can both vote for one in all eight names chosen by the mission group and/or from a rising checklist of names submitted by others. They can even submit and vote for a reputation of their selection.

Everyone can vote as soon as per day till the venture ends on December 1 at three PM EST/midday PST on the web site, Frontier Worlds.

Viewers can even see a present rating of identify selections on the web site.

The picks chosen by mission scientists embrace “Ano Nuevo,” which commemorates the flyby date of January 1, 2019; “Mjolnir,” the identify of Thor’s hammer in Norse mythology; “Camalor,” a fictional Kuiper Belt City in Robert L. Forward’s 1993 novel Camelot 30Ok, and “Pluck and Persistence,” that are attributes of the New Horizons mission and in addition recognition that MU69 may be a binary.

Among names nominated by contributors is “Pangu,” which some Chinese mythologies acknowledge as the primary ever dwelling being.

“The campaign is open to everyone. We are hoping that somebody out there proposes the perfect, inspiring name for MU69,” Showalter mentioned.

After the voting ends, mission group members will select the winner from these with the best variety of votes. The successful identify or names can be introduced in early January.

Following the flyby, when extra is understood about MU69, together with whether or not it’s a couple of object, members of the New Horizons mission group will work with the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to pick a proper identify for it.

“Many Kuiper Belt Objects have had informal names at first before a formal name was proposed,” Showalter famous. “After the flyby, once we know a lot more about this intriguing world, we and NASA will work with the International Astronomical Union to badign a formal name to MU69. Until then, we’re excited to bring people into the mission and share in what will be an amazing flyby on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, 2019!”

If the spacecraft has enough gas after the MU69 flyby, it could go to yet one more Kuiper Belt Object including one other extension to a mission that continues to exceed expectations.

“New Horizons has always been about pure exploration, shedding light on new worlds like we’ve never seen before,” mentioned Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado.

“Our close encounter with MU69 adds another chapter to this mission’s remarkable story. We’re pleased to bring the public along on this exciting mission of discovery.”




Tagged: KBO 2014 MU69 Kuiper Belt MU69 New Horizons The Range

Laurel Kornfeld

Laurel Kornfeld is an newbie astronomer and freelance author from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglbad College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program. Her writings have been printed on-line in The Atlantic, Astronomy journal’s visitor weblog part, the UK Space Conference, the 2009 IAU General Assembly newspaper, The Space Reporter, and newsletters of varied astronomy golf equipment. She is a member of the Cranford, NJ-based Amateur Astronomers, Inc. Especially within the outer photo voltaic system, Laurel gave a quick presentation on the 2008 Great Planet Debate held on the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD.

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