NASA Needs Your Help Naming a New World

By Bill Andrews | November 8, 2017 11:22 am

An artist’s illustration of New Horizons zooming past its next target on New Year’s Day 2019. (Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez)

NASA needs your help.

The New Horizons probe, which flew past Pluto two years ago to much fanfare, is heading towards another, even more distant world — (486958) 2014 MU69. It’s a maddeningly boring name, and it just doesn’t quite capture the adventure, the thrill, the awe of an earthly spacecraft visiting an object over 4 billion miles away. But if you act now, you can help give the target a more fitting nickname.

NASA announced earlier this week they’ll be looking to the public for suggestions on what to name the distant world — or possibly set of worlds (it’s so far and so tiny astronomers aren’t super sure if it’s just one object or possibly more). So share your ideas, or vote on other peoples’ suggestions, before Dec. 1. Of the established candidates, I’m partial to Uluru myself, though Mjölnir is also pretty catchy. But what about Mickey, the one who goes after Pluto all the time? If the past is any indicator of what’s to come, don’t be surprised if we settle on Worldy McWorldface.

Anyway, NASA and the New Horizons team will decide on a favorite and announce the winner in early January. It’ll be the object’s de facto name until the actual flyby, scheduled for New Year’s Day 2019, a little over a year from now. Then, based on what they find, the scientists will choose an official, permanent name for the world(s).

It’s not the first time NASA has crowdsourced a name. They’ve asked the public to help come up with names for features on Pluto, Mars rovers, and even exercise equipment. Clearly, they appreciate the wisdom of the masses, so hopefully we’ll rise to the challenge with New Horizons’ next destination.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration
  • kieron George

    I hope my nomination for Ibossim(Original Phoenician name for Ibiza) goes well.

    MU69 looks to be the same size and shape as the island of Ibiza, and Ibossim is refers to the Egyptian God Bes.

  • darryl

    I was thinking Rocky McRockface along with pretty much everyone else on the internet.


  • OWilson

    Why don’t they go for help where they go for a begged ride to the Space Station?

    Vladimir, is a good name that hasn’t been taken yet?

    • Uncle Al

      Trump and Putin. What could be more appropriate?

      • Erik Bosma

        And then we could send them there… along with their pal Duterte.

  • Uncle Al

    I am a simple man, I believe in the mandatory diversity of social intent, too ( as an administrator not a recipient). The perfect name(s) are then

    Compton, and

    If you are a despicable oppressive historic White Protestant European purveyor of patriarchal factualism, Simon and Garfunkel.

  • Romeo Dato

    My suggestion is “Plutorizonz” a word coined from Pluto and Horizons. It will remind us of Pluto and the Horizons prove

    • Uncle Al

      Don’t Ever Advertise Anything.

  • Jiten Regar

    what about “Shree”.

  • frau herr

    belens planet

  • TLongmire


  • Erik Bosma

    So, have we ever named anything after Yuri Gagarin? Or how about Uncle Al?

    • Uncle Al

      Indie film, “Cornelius.” A planetoid is directed by an angel to seek New Horizons. After doing some racy photography then splayed across the Net, the planetoid converts from proletarian to bourgeois and sues Harvey Weintstein.


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