(CBS SF) — NASA has partnered with the International Astronomical Union to allow the public to nominate names for soon-to-be-discovered features on Pluto and its orbiting satellites.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make the first-ever close flyby of Pluto and its satellites in July, collecting thousands of photographs which should reveal an in-depth look at the features on the bodies in the Pluto system.
These features will be named by the public after a vetting by NASA’s New Horizons team and the IAU. Don’t get too excited and think a feature on Pluto will soon be named after you, your pet hamster, or Seymour Buttz as there is a very strict set of rules for nomenclature.
All nominated names must “related to mythology and the literature and history of exploration.” Nominations also can not be the name of a living person. Below are the basic rules for names from IAU.
• Names for the Underworld from the world’s mythologies,
• Gods, goddesses, and dwarfs associated with the Underworld.
• Heroes and other explorers of the Underworld.
• Writers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
• Scientists and engineers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
• Destinations and milestones of fictional space and other exploration.
• Fictional and mythological vessels of space and other exploration.
• Fictional and mythological voyagers, travelers and explorers.
• River gods.
• Deities of the night.
• Dogs from literature, mythology and history.
• Legendary serpents and dragons.
Nominations are being accepted online through April 24th. To find out more information about how to participate in the Pluto naming contest, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons.