NASA scientists have already started planning on what they will name the new moons of Pluto. NASA is expecting its New Horizon spacecraft to span out every part of Pluto including finding new moons they have never seen before.
Scientists unfortunately cannot just name the moons as they are spotted; inspiration from the images is not an option because International Astronomical Union has to approve names of space objects beforehand.
New Horizon has sent visuals of Pluto’s largest known moon, Charon. The images were taken at 13 separate times in a matter of 6.5 days from April 12 to April 18 2015.
NASA has always taken into account suggestions from the public when naming any of the Plutonian features and in this case the New Horizon team also plan on taking the publics views into account.
“It’s up to the IAU, but since the public was so invested in the process, we thought it was appropriate to let the public know what we’re proposing,” Mark Showalter, a planetary scientist at the SETI Institute, told NBC News.
The newly discovered features of Pluto will have pretty straight forward names and the categories that require name keeping are historical space missions, spacecraft, scientists and explorers, as well as beings, locations and characters from myths pertaining to the underworld.
For the mysterious black spots that NASA spotted on Pluto’s surface, name suggestions could include Sputnik and Hercules.
However New Horizon team is very excited about Charon, Pluto’s primary moon, where they hope to find a lot of new features that requires naming.
So far the team has come up with names that fall into categories such as fictional travelers, destinations and vessels. It is exciting to think names like Huckleberry fin, HMS Endeavour – from the Pirates of the Caribbean and names from the Star Wars series are also up for grabs.