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Space & Planetary Science

What Name Would You Pick for Pluto's Newly-Discovered Moon?

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
July 24, 2011
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NASA’S Hubble Discovers Another Moon Around Pluto
“The new moon is the smallest discovered around Pluto. It has an estimated diameter of 8 to 21 miles (13 to 34 km). By comparison, Charon, Pluto’s largest moon, is 648 miles (1,043 km) across, and the other moons, Nix and Hydra, are in the range of 20 to 70 miles in diameter (32 to 113 km).”
Keith’s note: If you had a chance to name this new moon what would you name it – and why did you pick that name? Oh yea, the IAU claims to have a monopoly on naming objects and features in our solar system – and beyond. But there is nothing legally binding to the names they decide to use. Everyone just goes along with them because … well … because. And who gave them this role anyways? Answer: they appoint themselves. So why can’t the rest of us have a say in naming the things in our universe? The IAU is so 20th century. Its time to change this process.
What Should We Name Pluto’s New Moon?,
“It’s called P4 for the time being,” said Trent Perrotto, public affairs officer at NASA headquarters. “It’ll get a name, but it’s not up to NASA to decide on it.” As usual with newly discovered astronomical objects, he explained, P4’s name will be subject to a tough selection process overseen by an organization called the International Astronomical Union.”
Keith’s note: Hmmm… then why do the Mars rover people name all the surface features that they encounter along the way? Why bother if IAU is just going to ignore the names and change them? Why not let the actual discoverers – and the people who pay for these missions – have a chance to name things – and not some self-appointed group whihc answers only to itself?
What Should We Call Pluto’s New Moon?, Facebook Poll
Future asteroid mission: Mission impossible?, CBS
“At the moment, there are only a handful of asteroid options and they all have names like 1999AO10 or 2009OS5. NASA deputy exploration chief Laurie Leshin figures NASA will have to come up with, not just more targets, but better names.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.