April 12 2024

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NASA New Horizons Mission Trek Names

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A proposed list of names for geological features on Pluto and its moons includes a few names familiar to Trek fans.

NASA‘s New Horizons team has submitted the list of names which came from an “OurPluto” online survey.

On July 14th, a probe will fly past Pluto and its moons and NASA expects to find craters, mountains and other geographical features which will be named by the International Astronomical Union.

The Trek names included would be for features on Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. They include Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Vulcan. These four Trek entries would go up against Skywalker, Leia, Vader, Alice, Dorothy, Mordor, Tatooine, Serenity, Tardis, Nostromo, Galactica, Douglas Adams, Arthur C. Clarke, and Madeleine L’Engle.

The names have been submitted by Mark Showalter, a planetary scientist at the SETI Institute, but they are not official and may not actually be used, if past IAU actions are any guide.

“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,” said Showalter.

Fans will remember that in 2013 the IAU shot down the name of Vulcan which had received the most votes in a previous survey, with Styx taking its place.

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2 thoughts on “NASA New Horizons Mission Trek Names

  1. Seriously, what a missed opportunity. If you’re going to attribute Star Trek names to Charon, then why not use the two main characters from Charon in the TOS episode, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” from January 10, 1969. They are “Bele” (Frank Gorshin) and “Lokai” (Lou Antonio). Duh. The storyline also fits nicely into the trendy issue du jour – the silly flag kerfuffle in South Carolina. Duh squared. Amateurs.

  2. While I’d like to see Kirk, Spock, and Vulcan get some recognition, I think those names are too important to be used for minor geological features on one of Pluto’s moons; let’s save them for something cooler.

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