Monday, March 30, 2015

"Our Pluto" project lets you name features on Pluto and Charon


Through a collaborative effort among the SETI Institute, Dr. Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute, who is also a member of the New Horizons science team, and the IAU, people of all ages everywhere in the world now have a chance to suggest names for features New Horizons will discover on Pluto and Charon.

These features could include craters, mountains, volcanoes, chasms, etc.

Appropriate names are divided into 10 different themes that fit into three broad categories: the history of exploration, the literature of exploration, and mythology of the underworld.

Under the theme history of exploration are several subcategories, including historic explorers, space missions, and spacecraft, and scientists and engineers.

Literature of exploration includes subcategories of fictional explorers and travelers, fictional origins and destinations, fictional vessels, and authors and artists who envisioned explorations of land, sea, and space.

Because Pluto is named after the Roman god of the underworld, underworld themes such as underworlds and underworld locales, travelers to the underworld, and underworld beings comprise a third major category.

Additional themes may be added in the future depending on discoveries by New Horizons.

After voting is completed, the New Horizons team and the IAU will review all submissions and rank the names submitted in each theme.

Suggested names should reflect the diversity of cultures worldwide and not be limited to any one particular origin.

People can vote multiple times but only once per day.

To take part in this worldwide event, you must act quickly. The deadline to vote is Saturday, April 7. I apologize for the delay in sending this out, due to personal and family issues, but emphasize it is not too late to participate.

To submit nominations and for detailed rules of this project, go to the web site “Our Pluto” at http://www.ourpluto.org/ . Children can also vote and should visit the “Kids” page at http://www.ourpluto.org/kids .

As the project’s main page urges, “Help put names on the features of Pluto and Charon!”

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