Breaking News Emails
The team behind NASA's Messenger mission has kicked off a competition to name five anonymous craters on Mercury. Anyone can enter, as long as you play by the International Astronomical Union's rules: The name should be that of an artist, composer or writer who was famous for more than 50 years and has been dead for more than three years. (Sorry, Justin Bieber fans.) Some names have already been taken: Check the current list to make sure your suggestion is a new one. For example, Disney is on the list, but Presley isn't.
Suggestions are due via the Carnegie Institution for Science's website by Jan. 15. Experts will select 15 finalist names, and it's up to the IAU and the Messenger team to choose the winning names. The winners will be announced at the end of Messenger's mission operations, in late March or early April. Even if you can't name a celestial feature after yourself, it's fun to be involved in the process — as we found out in the case of asteroid Douglasadams.
- After Cosmic Campaign, Asteroid Honors 'Hitchhiker' Humorist
- Messenger Probe Tracks Lunar Eclipse From Mercury
- Why Pluto Can't Have a Moon Named Mickey