Call to public to nickname object in space

On New Year’s Day 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft will fly past a small, frozen world in the Kuiper Belt, at the outer edge of the solar system.

By: Express News Service | Published: November 13, 2017 1:36 am
nasa, new horizons spacecraft Artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flying by 2014 MU69. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez)

On New Year’s Day 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft will fly past a small, frozen world in the Kuiper Belt, at the outer edge of the solar system. The target Kuiper Belt object currently goes by the official designation “(486958) 2014 MU69”. NASA and the New Horizons team are asking the public for help in giving MU69 a nickname for this mission.

After the flyby, NASA and the New Horizons project plan to choose a formal name to submit to the International Astronomical Union, based in part on whether MU69 is found to be a single body, a binary pair, or perhaps a system of multiple objects. The chosen nickname will be used in the interim.

A dedicated website includes names currently under consideration; site visitors can vote for their favorites or nominate names they think should be added to the ballot. “The campaign is open to everyone,” said New Horizons science team member Mark Showalter, leader of the naming campaign.

The campaign will close on December 1. NASA and the New Horizons team will review the top vote-getters and announce their selection in early January.

Source: NASA web post

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