Science

NASA Needs Your Help Naming a New World

NASA Needs Your Help Naming a New World

The mission of the NASA "New Horizons", dedicated to the study of Pluto and the Kuiper belt looking for ideas of how to unofficially call your nearest route, which will take place over 1.6 billion kilometers from Pluto. Instead of what NASA calls the object's "license plate number", they want the public to give the formation a nickname until they fly by the object on January 1, 2019.

Nasa's New Horizons spacecraft has been flying further away from the solar system since it made its historic flyby past Pluto two years ago.

The space agency started things off with a few suggestions, including "Pluck", and the names of several types of nut - "A contact binary is often shaped like a peanut", NASA explains.

These objects are floating in the part of space around Pluto.

"NASA hopes the public can help them come up with a better name for a "small, frozen world" at the edge of the solar system than "(486958) 2014 MU69" - or "MU69".

You can submit your suggestion at www.frontierworlds.org or vote for one of the names already being considered.

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Everyone can vote once per day until the project ends on December 1 at 3:00 p.m. EST / noon PST at the site, Frontier Worlds. Now the craft is zooming toward its next target, some billion miles (1.6 billion km) past Pluto, due for a flyby on New Year's Day 2019. The form, located at the bottom of the page, asks for one or more names, the reason behind the nomination and a link to more information about the submitted names. "NASA and the New Horizons team will review the top vote-getters and announce their selection in early January", according to a release by NASA.

"The campaign is open to everyone".

Until then, we're excited to bring people into the mission and share in what will be an unbelievable flyby on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, 2019!

It is unclear why NASA representatives did not agree to keep the name "MU69". As its principle investigator Alan Stern says, "New Horizons has always been about pure exploration, shedding light on new worlds like we've never seen before". Many Kuiper Belt Objects have had informal names at first, before a formal name was proposed. "Our close encounter with MU69 adds another chapter to this mission's remarkable story".

After the flyby, NASA will work to formalize the object's new designation with the International Astronomical Union, which oversees the naming of all celestial objects. The team feels the latest mission adds another great accomplishment in the tiny explorer's repertoire and wants to add excitement to the flyby by asking the public to pick a nickname for a distant world.