On New Years Day, there is something major happening. No, it’s not the fact that we survived 2017! The spacecraft New Horizons will flyby a “small, frozen world in the Kuiper Belt, at the outer edge of our solar system” writes NASA. The destination is currently named “(486958) 2014 MU69”.
NASA is asking the public to help give a nickname to this Kuiper belt object. Clearly, they did not see what happened when the British government asked the Internet for name suggestions for their polar research ship! Remember Boaty McBoatface?!
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington stated, “New Horizons made history two years ago with the first close-up look at Pluto, and is now on course for the farthest planetary encounter in the history of spaceflight. We’re pleased to bring the public along on this exciting mission of discovery.”
The name game is being hosted by SETI Institute of Mountain View, California and led by director Mark Showalter. Suggestions for the name are currently being accepted. So, if you have ever wanted to name a piece of space rock, now is certainly your chance!
In early January 2018, the New Horizons team and NASA will review names and will compile a few of their favorites. Once the top-ranked names are selected, the public can then vote on their favorites.
Some nicknames they are currently considering are Ano Nuevo, Camalor, Kibo, Mawenzi, Shira, Mjolkir, Peanut, Almond, Cashew, Pluck & Persistence, Sagittarius, Z’ha’dum, Chomolungma, Sagarmatha, Pangu and Uluru.
So go online and submit the names you think would work best. The campaign closes on December 1st!
Sarah is a Hufflepuff living in NYC. When she is not traveling or talking to random animals, she is working as a script writer. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp