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Second group of names approved for features on Pluto – SpaceFlight Insider

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A composite of photographs collected by New Horizons’ devices through the spacecraft’s July 2015 Pluto flyby, this annotated map reveals the newly-approved names in yellow and those accepted in 2017 in white. Picture Credit score: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Ross Beyer

A second set of names for options on Pluto, already used informally by members of NASA’s New Horizons mission, has obtained formal approval by the Worldwide Astronomical Union (IAU), the group that names celestial objects and their options.

Submitted by the New Horizons mission, these 14 names honor pioneering explorers on Earth, area missions, scientists and engineers who’ve studied Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, and underworld mythology. Like the primary set of 14 names for varied options on Pluto’s floor, which have been accepted in 2017, all of those got here from a 2015 public naming campaign organized collectively by the New Horizons mission, the SETI Institute, and the IAU.

That marketing campaign, titled “Our Pluto,” established a listing of themes for names to be assigned to options on Pluto, Charon, and the system’s 4 small moons prematurely of the July 2015 Pluto flyby. Themes for floor options on Pluto included names for the underworld from varied world mythologies; gods, goddesses, and dwarfs related to the underworld; heroes and different explorers of the underworld; writers related to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt; and scientists and engineers related to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

Individuals may vote for names from a listing of nominations advised by the organizers or nominate a reputation of their selecting beneath the established classes.

In 2018, the IAU accepted a set of names submitted by the New Horizons mission for options on Charon, which had additionally been chosen through the general public marketing campaign. Themes for options on the big moon included locations and milestones of fictional area and different exploration; fictional and mythological vessels of area and different exploration; and fictional and mythological voyagers, vacationers, and explorers.

Tombaugh Regio, the title assigned to Pluto’s iconic coronary heart function, was among the many preliminary set of names accepted in 2017, in honor of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh. The brand new record of names consists of Lowell Regio, given to a big area above the guts function, in honor of Percival Lowell, who based the Lowell Observatory, the place Pluto was found in 1930, and initiated the seek for a planet past Neptune within the early 1900s.

The next names have been accepted for Pluto’s many areas, mountain ranges, craters, valleys, and plains:

Alcyonia Lacus, a potential frozen nitrogen lake on Pluto’s floor, is called for the bottomless lake in or within the neighborhood of Lerna, a area of Greece recognized for springs and swamps; the Alcyonian lake was one of many entrances to the underworld in Greek mythology.

Elcano Montes is a mountain vary honoring Juan Sebastián Elcano (1476–1526), the Spanish explorer who in 1522 accomplished the primary circumnavigation of the Earth (a voyage began in 1519 by Magellan).

Hunahpu Valles is a system of canyons named for one of many Hero Twins in Mayan mythology, who defeated the lords of the underworld in a ball sport.

Khare crater honors planetary scientist Bishun Khare (1933–2013), an professional on the chemistry of planetary atmospheres who did laboratory work resulting in a number of seminal papers on tholins – the natural molecules that most likely account for the darkest and reddest areas on Pluto.

Kiladze crater honors Rolan Kiladze (1931–2010), the Georgian (Caucasus) astronomer who made pioneering early investigations the dynamics, astrometry and photometry of Pluto.

Lowell Regio is a big area honoring Percival Lowell (1855–1916), the American astronomer who based Lowell Observatory and arranged a scientific seek for a planet past Neptune.

Mwindo Fossae is a community of lengthy, slender depressions named for the Nyanga (Jap Dem. Rep. Congo/Zaire) epic hero who traveled to the underworld and after returning dwelling grew to become a sensible and highly effective king.

Piccard Mons is a mountain and suspected cryovolcano that honors Auguste Piccard (1884–1962), a 20th century inventor and physicist greatest recognized for his pioneering balloon flights into Earth’s higher environment.

Pigafetta Montes honors Antonio Pigafetta (c. 1491–c. 1531), the Italian scholar and explorer who chronicled the discoveries made through the first circumnavigation of the Earth, aboard Magellan’s ships.

Piri Rupes is an extended cliff honoring Ahmed Muhiddin Piri (c. 1470–1553), often known as Piri Reis, an Ottoman navigator and cartographer recognized for his world map. He additionally drew a number of the earliest current maps of North and Central America.

Simonelli crater honors astronomer Damon Simonelli (1959–2004), whose wide-ranging analysis included the formation historical past of Pluto.

Wright Mons honors the Wright brothers, Orville (1871–1948) and Wilbur (1867–1912), American aviation pioneers credited with constructing and flying the world’s first profitable airplane.

Vega Terra is a big land mass named for the Soviet Vega 1 and a pair of missions, the primary spacecraft to fly balloons on one other planet (Venus) and to picture the nucleus of a comet (1P/Halley).

Venera Terra is called for the Venera missions despatched to Venus by the Soviet Union from 1961–1984; they included the primary human-made system to enter the environment of one other planet, to make a delicate touchdown on one other planet and to return photographs from one other planetary floor.


Laurel Kornfeld is an novice astronomer and freelance author from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass Faculty, Rutgers College, and earned a Graduate Certificates of Science from Swinburne College’s Astronomy On-line program. Her writings have been revealed on-line in The Atlantic, Astronomy journal’s visitor weblog part, the UK Area Convention, the 2009 IAU Common Meeting newspaper, The Area Reporter, and newsletters of assorted astronomy golf equipment. She is a member of the Cranford, NJ-based Newbie Astronomers, Inc. Particularly within the outer photo voltaic system, Laurel gave a short presentation on the 2008 Nice Planet Debate held on the Johns Hopkins College Utilized Physics Lab in Laurel, MD.

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