Contest: Name That Asteroid!

Yesterday, we learned a little more about The Planetary Society. Did you see the contest? You can actually enter a name for an asteroid! How cool is that?

There’s a mission being planned so the folks going to 1999 RQ36 want something a little more interesting than 1999 RQ36.

“OSIRIS-REx is going to fly to an asteroid and bring back some pieces. Right now, the asteroid’s name is 1999 RQ36, but we think students can do better!  The Planetary Society, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, and the University of Arizona are asking students around the world to suggest better names for the asteroid.” ~Planetary Society Contest

It turns out that there is a naming convention for asteroids, who knew?

“In addition, because (101955) 1999 RQ36 is a near-Earth object, its name should be from mythology, but the name should not be one associated with creation or underworld themes because those themes are used for other types of bodies in the solar system. The mythological name can come from any culture from any part of the world. In very rare cases, this definition has been stretched to include fictional mythological characters. There are some exceptions to these rules, and entries of names that are not mythological will not be disqualified. However, the International Astronomical Union is likelier to approve a name that is from mythology than one that is not.” ~Asteroid Naming Guidelines

So you really want to figure out the pieces of the puzzle for this one.

Here’s a bit about the team behind this contest:

“The naming contest for the near Earth asteroid currently named (101955) 1999 RQ36 is a partnership of the Planetary Society; MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, the discoverers of (101955) 1999 RQ36; and the University of Arizona, who under principal investigator Dante Lauretta was chosen by NASA to lead the OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) asteroid sample return mission.” ~Planetary Society Contest

The deadline was extended to December 31, 2012 so check it out and Name That Asteroid… if you want to.

If you are 18 or over, spread the word and get kids involved today!

*Use the links to get the scoop
*Kids worldwide under 18 are eligible
*No cost to enter


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