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NASA’s New Horizons, IAU Set Pluto Naming Themes

NASA’s New Horizons, IAU Set Pluto Naming Themes

The official astronomical naming organization IAU accepted the results of the SETI Institute-created Our Pluto campaign for potential names of features of Pluto and Charon.

Pluto Features

In early 2015, the SETI Institute hosted the “OurPluto” naming campaign, which was endorsed by NASA and the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The goal was to prepare a list of potential categories and names for the surface features on Pluto and its large moon Charon. At the time, New Horizons was speeding toward the Pluto system, preparing for its July encounter.

Today, the IAU accepted the naming themes that were developed as a part of the public campaign. This clears the way for the IAU to begin formalizing the names that were proposed by the public through the OurPluto web site.

“We have been delighted to be able to share the excitement of the New Horizons mission with people from all over the world,” said Mark Showalter, a senior research scientist at the SETI Institute and the New Horizons team member who organized the “Our Pluto” naming campaign. “I look forward to seeing many of the public’s thoughtful suggestions officially assigned to the maps of Pluto and its moons.”

After voyage of more than nine years and 3 billion miles, New Horizons made history by flying through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, returning data that have transformed our view of these intriguing worlds on the planetary frontier. Next up for the spacecraft is a flyby of another Kuiper Belt object, identified as 2014 MU69, on Jan. 1, 2019.

Learn more about the naming themes.

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