Nasa wants YOU to name a distant world – here’s how to do it

CAN you help Nasa nickname a small, frozen world on the outer edge of our solar system?

The US space agency is planning to fly past the space rock system nestled in the Kuiper Belt on New Year’s Day in 2019.


An artist’s concept of Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft flying by MU69 on January 1, 2019

Nasa

Before then it wants to give “MU69” a better name and it needs the public’s help.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate said: “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.”

After the flyby, it will be given a formal name, dependant on what the probe finds.


The New Horizons probe before its mission at the Kennedy Space Centre in 2005

Right now they are unclear whether the distant world is a single body or a pair of rocks.

It might even be a system of “multiple objects”, Nasa reckons.


This is what Nasa thinks MU69 looks like, but it will send the New Horizon’s probe to check it out in 2019

Nasa

It is hoping space fans will come up with a name that “captures the excitement of the flyby and awe and inspiration of exploring this new and record-distant body in space”.

But we reckon people will be submitting all sorts of silly names.

A minisub called Boaty McBoatface is currently probing currents in the Orkney Passage – two miles under the Southern Ocean.

Boaty was “christened” after the competition to name a new polar research ship backfired.


Boaty will travel with the British Antarctic Survey ship James Clark Ross

PA:Press Association

You can submit your MU69 nickname at frontierworlds.org.

Nasa will announce the winner in January 2018.


FLYING VISIT What are asteroids, when did Asteroid 2012 TC4 fly past Earth and could a meteor strike destroy the planet?


You have until 8pm on December 1 to get your nomination or vote in.

Grand piano-sized probe New Horizons spent ten years travelling three billion miles to Pluto’s system and is currently hurtling even further out to Space to explore beyond the Kuiper Belt.



We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at tips@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 782 4368. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours


 

Source: thesun
Nasa wants YOU to name a distant world – here’s how to do it