July 24, 2006 at 2:35 AM ET
CollectSpace reports that NASA is favoring "Project Orion" as the 21st-century equivalent of Project Apollo. The name, which evokes the well-known constellation as well as the huntsman of Greek mythology, would refer to the yet-to-be-built Crew Exploration Vehicle as well as the overall effort to return to the moon - just as Apollo referred to the moon program of the 1960s and early 1970s as well as the craft that carried astronauts from Earth to the moon.
CollectSpace's Robert Pearlman figured out the moniker by doing a search for NASA's recent trademark applications. Last month, we found "Ares," referring to the launch vehicle - and sure enough, "Orion" was added to the database on July 14 (Click here and do a search for registration number 78929845). Pearlman says his NASA sources have confirmed that Orion is the name, but it ain't official till it's official.