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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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