You Can Now Nominate Names for Features on Pluto

Monday, 23 March 2015 - 3:35PM
Astronomy
Solar System
Monday, 23 March 2015 - 3:35PM
You Can Now Nominate Names for Features on Pluto
The New Horizons spacecraft is getting closer and closer to Pluto every day, and is expected to make its closest approach with the former ninth planet in just a few months. Now, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is inviting the public to submit and vote for names for geological features on Pluto that haven't been discovered yet.

New Horizons has been traveling for nine years and more than three billion miles for its historic mission to Pluto. It is expected to be closest to the dwarf planet in July 2015, and about a month prior to that it will begin sending back more detailed pictures of the surface. The scientific team won't have time to name all of the discovered features, as there are expected to be many, so they're appealing to the public for help.

"Pluto belongs to everyone," said New Horizons team member Mark Showalter in a press release. "So we want everyone to be involved in making the map of this distant world."

You can now submit your ideas for names, and vote for your favorites, here. This could be a recipe for disaster, considering how people normally behave on the internet, but luckily the names can only fall under three themes: The History of Exploration, The Literature of Exploration, and Mythology of the Underworld (Pluto is the Roman god of the underworld, and all of its moons are named after features of the mythological underworld). There is also a simplified ballot so young children can participate in the fun.

The ballots will close on April 7, so cast your votes now!
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Astronomy
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