Jul 24, 2017 | Updated: 03:03 PM EDT

NASA Plans To Name Pluto’s Surface Features And Smaller Moons Related To Underworld

Feb 24, 2017 12:25 AM EST

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Pluto Gets Its Closeup As 'Horizons' Images Arrive On Earth
(Photo : NASA/APL/SwRI via Getty Images) IN SPACE - JULY 14: In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a close-up image of a region near Pluto's equator shows a range of mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft as it passed within 7,800 feet of the dwarf planet on July 14, 2015. The 1,050-pound piano sized probe, which was launched January 19, 2006 aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, zipped by the planet yesterday.

NASA has officially approved of making Pluto the planet of underworld with its names. After NASA's discovery of Pluto's surface features like mountains, rivers, craters, basins and cliffs, it has asked helped from the public for those to be formally named.

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The International Astronomical Union or IAU is excited to announce the themes as to where people can get the manes of Pluto's features. Since NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent pictures of Pluto's surroundings, the IAU's has picked themes for naming it, according to NASA.

All of the themes are somewhat related to the Greek and Roman mythology of the Underworld. Pluto itself or Hades is the name of the god of Underworld. Pluto's biggest moon, Charon, will have its features named after places or destinations related to fictional and mythological stories of the Underworld. Other themes for naming Pluto's feature are names from other folklore or tales about the underworld, not just the Greek and Roman ones. Scientists and engineers who helped the project to be successful or have something to do with discovering Pluto are also included.

Meanwhile, themes for naming Pluto's smaller moons like the Styx are name of river gods. With nix, another small moon of Pluto is gods of the night. With Kerberos, named after the three headed dog, will be names related to any dogs in mythologies, history and tales. The last one, Hydra, will be related to legendary serpents and dragons, Gizmodo stated.

"Imagine the thrill of seeing your name suggestion on a future map of Pluto and its moons," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington. "Months after the Pluto flyby, the New Horizons mission continues to engage and inspire", he added.

The process and partnership that New Horizons and the IAU made, which is the naming themes for surface features on Pluto and its moons is really engaging, said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. The team is looking forward to submitting the chosen names for Pluto's features for approval, he added.


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