Space the Final Frontier

Don’t You DARE Try to Name Pluto’s Moons After Some Internet Nonsense

It's not funny and it's not cute.
Hi there! (NASA Photo: H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team, Via WikiMedia)

Hi there! (NASA Photo: H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team, Via Wikimedia Commons)

Fun fact: Pluto was named in 1930 by an 11-year-old girl. In the spirit of her christening skills, Wired reports, astronomers at the SETI Institute is asking the Internet to help name two tiny, newly discovered moons of Pluto. They’ve created a website dubbed “Pluto Rocks!” with a list of possibilities for which you can cast your ballot.

Included are such dignified options as Persephone, for Hades’ captive wife, and Acheron, for one of the rivers flowing through the underworld. Here is a cheat sheet for those who did not spend their childhoods pouring over D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths.

On that website, there is also a write-in ballot. We can’t believe we even have to say this, but between the We the People fiasco and the elevation of a cat (rather than the obviously superior robot) to the Monopoly canon, we feel we must: Don’t submit the names of any fucking Pokemon, or any dumb Internet memes, or Stephen Colbert, or–God forbid–Kim Jong-un. Don’t you dare.

These are celestial bodies that will continue to circle Pluto long after your bones have disintegrated into the Earth. Please treat this occasion with the gravity it deserves.

Luckily, the astronomers have already foreseen the biggest pitfall of soliciting the “wisdom” of the crowds, and the ballot stipulates, “Names for the moons of Pluto must come from Greek or Roman mythology and must be related to Pluto/Hades and the underworld.

Unless your cutesy wisecrack is actually a clever riff on the legends of the Greco-Roman ancient world (and remember, Uranus is already taken) please, for the love of Zeus, don’t waste their time.

(h/t The Mary Sue)

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