[meteorite-list] NASA Extends Campaign for Public to Name Features on Pluto
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2015 12:44:17 -0700 (PDT)
April 6, 2015
NASA Extends Campaign for Public to Name Features on Pluto
The public has until Friday, April 24 to help name new features on Pluto and
its orbiting satellites as they are discovered by NASA's New Horizons
Announced in March, the agency wants to give the worldwide public more time
to participate in the agency's mission to Pluto that will make the
first-ever close flyby of the dwarf planet on July 14.
The campaign extension, in partnership with the International Astronomical
Union (IAU) in Paris, was due to the overwhelming response from the public.
"Due to increasing interest and the number of submissions we're getting,
it was clear we needed to extend this public outreach activity," said Jim
Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division at the agency's
headquarters in Washington. "This campaign not only reveals the public's
excitement about the mission, but helps the team, which will not have time to
come up with names during the flyby, to have a ready-made library of names in
advance to officially submit to the IAU."
The IAU is the formal authority for naming celestial bodies. Submissions must
follow a set of accepted themes and guidelines set out by the IAU's Working
Group for Planetary System Nomenclature. After the campaign concludes,
NASA's New Horizons team will sort through the names and submit its
recommendations to the IAU. The IAU will decide whether and how the names
will be used.
The campaign allows the public of all ages to submit names for the many new
features scientists expect to discover on Pluto following the encounter.
"I'm impressed with the more than 40,000 thoughtful submissions," said
Mark Showalter, scientist New Horizons science team co-investigator, and SETI
Institute in Mountain View, California, which is hosting the naming website.
"Every day brings new lessons in the world's history, literature and
mythology. Participation has come from nearly every country on Earth, so this
really is a worldwide campaign."
New Horizons already has covered more than 3 billion miles since it launched
on Jan. 19, 2006. Its journey has taken it past each planet's orbit, from
Mars to Neptune, in record time, and now it's now in the first stage of an
historic encounter with Pluto that includes long-distance imaging, as well as
dust, energetic particle and solar wind measurements to characterize the
space environment near Pluto.
The spacecraft will pass Pluto at a speed of 31,000 mph taking thousands of
images and making a wide range of science observations. At a distance of
nearly 4 billion miles from Earth at flyby, it will take approximately 4.5
hours for data to reach Earth.
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) manages the New Horizons
mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Alan Stern,
of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), is the principal investigator.
SwRI leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science
planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program, managed by
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. APL designed,
built and operates the spacecraft for NASA.
To find out more information about how to participate in the Pluto naming
Detailed IAU guidelines for acceptable names submissions are available online
For images and updates on the July 14 Pluto flyby, visit:
dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov
Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei Munchen, Germany
+49 89 320 06 761, cell: +49 173 38 72 621
lars at eso.org
Received on Mon 06 Apr 2015 03:44:17 PM PDT