The naming of names

The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 15 2011 7:17 AM

The naming of names

If you don't like the way NASA and astronomers name their missions, then now's your chance.

NASA is asking students to help them name the twin GRAIL satellites, currently on their way to the Moon. They want input from K-12 students, and they're hoping this helps motivate kids to be interested in space. They don't have suggestions, but I might urge you to think of either famous twins, of course, or maybe two people who helped explore the Moon, partners in some way (married couples, or two people who worked closely together). I don't think they'll allow the names of people still alive (so Neil and Buzz are out, unfortunately), but I'm guessing someone will come up with something good.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

The deadline for that is November 11.

Not only that, but astronomers want to rename the Very Large Array, a collection of 27 separate 25-meter radio telescopes observing the skies from New Mexico. The array has been operational for decades, but has undergone recent extensive renovations, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory thinks it's appropriate to rename the array in honor of this.

If you've seen the movie "Contact" then you've seen the VLA; it's where The Signal is first heard, the scene where Ellie is listening in using headphones. So I went to the Name The Array webpage and, deciding to keep the same initials, entered "Vega Loves Arroway". You may feel free to submit something better.

The deadline for renaming the VLA is midnight Eastern (US) time December 1.


 



Related posts:


TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 22 2014 9:04 AM When Frank Sinatra Thanked George Bush For Trying to Outlaw Flag-Burning
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Science
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.