May 20, 2019 | Updated: 02:24 PM EDT

ESA Asks Public to Name Philae Landing Site of Comet 67P This November

Oct 20, 2014 03:44 PM EDT

Philae Landing Site J to be Renamed
(Photo : ESA/Rosetta) Philae Landing Site J to be Renamed

It's been a conversation months in the making. No, it's not a new iPhone product or what celebrity baby names will be hot this Winter, but rather what to call one of the greatest achievements mankind will make in your lifetime?

Earlier this past summer, after of months travelling in space since its launch in March 2004, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta mission orbiter finally arrived at its destination Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and made history as the first satellite to successful enter orbit around a speeding comet. It's been a mission filled with a lot of new insight, previously hypothesized by researchers, and now the ESA will be taking that mission one step further: onto the surface of the comet.

It has been decided, after countless projections and simulations have been used to calculate an exact entry plan, that the Rosetta mission's Philae lander will maneuver its way onto the surface of the comet this November 12, finding a home niche in what the ESA has designated as "Site J" from the original prospects of landing sites. But while the site name once helped them delineate the similar rocky sites from one another in the process of deliberation, the ESA is not entirely fond of the historic location receiving such a generic title, so they're asking for a little bit of help in renaming the first-ever soft landing site for cometary research.

Reaching out to the public for a little bit of inspiration in creative names, researchers at the ESA have created an open competition where anyone and everyone can submit their own ideas for what the site should be named.

"The rules are simple" ESA officials say. "You can propose any name you like, but it must not be the name of a person. You must also provide a short (up to 200 words) description as to why you have selected this name. You may enter in any European language."

A historic moment for the world, the competition is open to individuals of every nation, but you only have a few days left to enter. The contest will end this Wednesday Oct. 22 at 7pm EDT, and a winner will be announced on Nov. 3 just before the Philae lander embarks on its mission scheduled for Nov. 12.

So, what's in it for you?

Well, other than being able to stake your claim on one of the most exciting missions that this generation will likely see, if you're the lucky winner you'll be given the opportunity to commemorate the historic occasion by watching the landing live from ESA's mission control headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.

And if all goes according to plan, someday you may just have your name in the history books!


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