September 5, 2012
NASA Announces Asteroid Naming Contest
The OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission is going to an asteroid to return a sample to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch in 2016, visit the asteroid in 2019-2020 and return a sample to Earth in 2023. Scientists will study the asteroid’s orbit, composition, and characteristics to answer questions about the early Solar System, build- ing blocks of life, and potential impact hazards.
Instead of traveling to asteroid (1010955) 1999 RQ36, the asteroid’s current name, we’re asking for help to find a new name. The Planetary Society, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, and the discovers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab, will recommend selected names to the Interna- tional Astronomical Union for selection.
Contestants choose a name, explain their choice and submit the application on the Planetary Society website.
Contest starts Tuesday September 4, 2012. The deadline is Sunday December 2, 2012.
For contest rules, guidelines, and application visit: www.planetary.org/name.