NASA is now keen on focusing on Pluto’s surface features, naming its mountains, craters, and basins. Back in 2015, NASA started analyzing this dwarf planet when the New Horizons spaceship got closer to its surface. The images which were captured by the rover indicated a diversity of surface features. Specialists have revealed a massive heart-shaped area of frozen plains, but also spectacular mountains of about 11,000 feet high.
- The mission team on New Horizons decided to name the surface features of Pluto.
- They revealed a frozen heart-shaped region which was called the Tombaugh Regio after Clyde Tombaugh,
- They decided to name the features and the moons of Pluto after gods related to Hades.
The New Horizons team decided to name some of these amazing features, but the names were only informal ones. Luckily, several of these labels may soon be their official names. On February 23, the International Astronomical Union, the team responsible for naming celestial objects, argued that they have submitted and accepted the names established by the New Horizons team for the surface features of Pluto and its moons.
The names are representative and significant ones, indicating references towards people who have studied this dwarf planet, but also missions and pioneers which surpassed new boundaries when exploring space. Due to the fact that Pluto got its name from the god of the underworld, several of the titles received are bound to revolve beings associated with Hades or other ancient gods.
The guidelines will align with several of these deathly names which already characterize the planetary system. Pluto’s biggest moon is Charon. When looking back, we realize that Charon was the one who transported souls across the river Styx. One of the small moons of Pluto is called Styx.
Many of the informal names used to nominate surface features on Pluto are bound to become the real titles because many of them accommodated to the themes. The frozen heart-shaped area was called Tombaugh Regio after Clyde Tombaugh. He was the one who revealed Pluto back 1930. A massive dark region was called Cthulhu Regio. This name leads us towards the name of the octopus-dragon god created by the writer H. P. Lovecraft.
The mission team got some of these ideas from the public due to the implementation of the “Our Pluto” project which was held before the New Horizons spaceship set off in July 2015. Scientists did not forget about Pluto’s moon, also naming their surface features. The features will indicate names of voyagers, destinations, and fictional vessels.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia