Help Name Surface Features on Pluto and Its Orbiting Satellites

Launched on Jan. 19, 2006, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft already has covered more than 3 billion miles on its journey that has taken it past each planet’s orbit, from Mars to Neptune, in record time. Now it’s in the first stage of an historic encounter with Pluto that includes long-distance imaging, as well as measuring dust, energetic particles and solar wind in the space environment near Pluto.

This encounter will allow scientists to get a better view of the surfaces of Pluto and its orbiting satellites. And the new surface features being discovered will need to be named!

Through April 24, 2015, the public can suggest names for the New Horizons team to use. Submissions must follow a set of accepted themes and guidelines set out by the International Astronomical Union. The IAU is the formal authority for naming celestial bodies. After the campaign concludes, NASA’s New Horizons team will sort through the names and submit its recommendations to the IAU. The IAU will decide whether and how the names will be used.

The campaign allows the public of all ages to submit names for the many new features scientists expect to discover on Pluto following the encounter.

To find out more information about how to participate in the Pluto naming contest, visit

Detailed IAU guidelines for acceptable names submissions are available online at

For images and updates on the Pluto flyby set to take place on July 14, 2015, visit  and

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is Director of Technology for the College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. In that role, he also directs The Adele & Dale Young Education Technology Center (The YETC) located in room 170 of the Education Building on Utah State University's Logan campus. The YETC is a combination student open­access computer facility, a K­12 curriculum materials library, a NASA Educator Resource Center for Utah, and a technology training center. Nathan served eight years (2004­2012) on the Board of Directors for the Utah Coalition for Education Technology (UCET) He was re­elected in 2014 to serve another two year term on the board. A former elementary school teacher, Nathan has taught students every age from young children to senior citizens. He has had the opportunity beginning in 2011 to train international high school teachers from all over the world about technology in education, through the U.S. State

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