Name the New Pluto Moons Contest: SETI Rules, How to Play, Vote and Infographic

Written by Gina Smith

Here’s where and how to vote for names in the new Pluto Moons naming contest by Seti. Deadline is coming up. See if you can think out of the box — our site will — and come up with non-traditional names for the write-in ballot. I’m thinking Steve and Steve. Or Google and Apple, names that might be funny and meaningless in 1,000 years. Or not. Or Spock and Scottie. Anything but Roman and Greek myth names, please. It’s the 21st century. Toss tradition, I say, but that’s just me. Send anewdomain your name recommendations and we’ll collect them for our entry into SETI. — Now’s your chance. The Name the New Pluto Moons Contest is going now. I don’t know about you, but is definitely playing this game. You see, SETI is taking up  folks who think they can do better than the names so far assigned to the recently discovered Pluto moons now known as P4 and P5.

We want to use SETI’s special write-in ballot — details below — to come up with some better names than the traditional ones from Roman and Greek mythology they have on the ballot now. Veronica and Archie? Steve and Steve? Android and iOS? Scroll to the bottom for your ideas. Cheech and Chong. Well, maybe not. Brainstorm.  In the meantime, here’s the background.

Writes Mark Showalter for the P4/P5 discovery team for the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, in a blog post:

“Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2011 and 2012 revealed two previously unknown moons of Pluto. So far, we have been calling them “P4” and “P5,” but the time has come to give them permanent names. If it were up to you, what would you choose?<

YAWN on SETI’s idea, though, to list the Greek and Roman typical mythological names all other Plutonian names use.Luckily for those of use more out of the box, SETI is including write-in ballots for creatives proposing non-traditional names.

The write-in form is here.  Check out the Pluto Rocks blog page for the latest details. As for the ground rules, note it’s okay to vote multiple times, but SETI asks you vote no more than once a day. Hacking is probably discouraged, too.
SETI will bring your votes and “suggestions into consideration” as it proposes the names for the P4 and P5 moons at the International Astronomical Union gathering coming up.
Voting ends at 12 p.m. Eastern on February 25, 2013.
Read about the names on the official ballot — and select from the below if you don’t want to come up with something, um, a little more original.  Vote by clicking on one of those (sorry, predictable but below the mark, IMO) names below.
Acheron | Alecto | Cerberus | Erebus | Eurydice | Hercules | Hypnos | Lethe |

Could this go wrong? Well. Here’s an excerpt from a great piece on what happened when Steven Colbert tried to name astral objects after himself. This from, excerpt below:

The researchers are hoping the public campaign won’t turn into a PR disaster. When NASA solicited a name for a new module on the International Space Station, comedian Stephen Colbert asked that the module be named after himself. Many people responded, and NASA eventually got some 200,000 votes in favor of the “Colbert” module.

At the end of the day, the module was named “Tranquility,” but Colbert still won a consolation prize. A treadmill inside the module was named C.O.L.B.E.R.T., as in “Combined Operational Load-Bearing External External Resistance Treadmill.”

But that episode may have put a wrong idea in some people’s minds. The scientists behind Pluto’s moons campaign are not entirely sure that some monkey business won’t happen to them.

“I suspect Minnie and Mickey will be high on the list of write-ins,” joked Mark Showalter, one of the leaders of the discovery teams, when he talked to NBC News.

Here’s an infographic from that explains more about moons P4 and P5 to help you better come up with creative names for the New Pluto Moons Naming Contest. I want to win. Don’t you?