The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the official body responsible for naming stuff in space, like moons and asteroids. No, it’s not part of that cheesy birthday/anniversary thing where you name a star for your girlfriend (so just stop that). But the IAU isn’t above a little romantic indulgence either, it turns out. NASA just revealed the new naming conventions — or themes — for Pluto and its five moons.
The themes approved for Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, are these according to NASA:
● Destinations and milestones of fictional space and other exploration
● Fictional and mythological vessels of space and other exploration
● Fictional and mythological voyagers, travelers and explorers
● Authors and artists associated with space exploration, especially Pluto and the Kuiper Belt
That’s a lot of fiction, right? While names for features on Pluto focus more on “gods, goddesses and other beings from mythology” as well as more earthly “scientists and engineers associated with Pluto,” Charon is open for George Lucas-inspired naming. Given the themes, a deep crevice on Charon could be called Vader Canyon or a lone peak could win the moniker Han Solo. These would presumably need George Lucas’s approval — like Droid? Maybe that crater is Picard instead? Or Tiberius — after Captain James Tiberius Kirk? Charon, of course, is the ferryman of Hades who transported souls across the river Styx.Up to 70% off on Hottest Amazon Deals]