How To: SETI Needs Your Help Renaming Pluto's Newly Found P4 and P5 Moons

SETI Needs Your Help Renaming Pluto's Newly Found P4 and P5 Moons

In 2006, everything that revolved around my world shattered into tiny pieces as I learned that scientists had decided to rescind Pluto's planetary status. Given the ol' Jeff Probst treatment, Pluto was officially voted off our solar system in the blink of an eye, leaving us with only eight planets and a whole load of useless textbooks.

The primary reason that Pluto was demoted down to a "dwarf planet" was due to Pluto's largest moon, Charon, being about half the size of Pluto; all the other planets in the neighborhood are much larger than their biggest moon.

In a bit of a personally nostalgic move, the SETI Institute is now sponsoring a contest to name two of Pluto's unnamed moons. Back in 1930, a little girl suggested to Clyde Tombaugh that he name his discovery "Pluto", and that's what inspired this moon-naming content.

The two moons, known currently only as P4 and P5, were discovered by the Hubble Telescope in 2011 and 2012.

If you want to merely vote on a few of the front runner names, you can make your choice over on the Plutorocks website. Vulcan, Cerberus, and Hercules are just a few of the choices. If you think that there's a better name for the moons, you can make an entry by filling out the write-in form on Plutorocks.

While there are no strict rules, the website mentions that they would prefer if you only vote once per day, so that everyone gets a fair chance. When it comes to write-ins, it's highly likely that the SETI Institute won't choose a name like Colbert or Batman; names for the moons of Pluto must come from Greek or Roman mythology and must be related to Pluto/Hades and the underworld.

Hopefully they pick it.

Voting ends at noon EST on Monday, February 25th, 2013.

Photos by TurboSquid, Lunar and Planetary Institute, NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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