From now until 3pm EST (12 noon PST) on December 1, you can submit names and vote for your favorites by visiting http://www.frontierworlds.org/. On the site, you’ll find a submission form, a list of names currently under consideration, and a ranking of the names submitted so far. The campaign to nickname the target is led by Mark Showalter, a New Horizons team member and planetary scientist at the SETI Institute of Mountain View, California; the SETI Institute is also hosting the campaign.
“The campaign is open to everyone,” Showalter said in a press release. “We are hoping that somebody out there proposes the perfect, inspiring name for MU69.”
MU69 orbits the Sun at a distance that puts it more than 4 billion miles (6.5 billion km) from Earth. Our best telescope observations to date indicate it’s actually a pair of binary objects, so two nicknames might be necessary, depending on what New Horizons sees as it finally approaches.
After the flyby — and once more is known about this tiny, dark target — a formal name will be submitted to the IAU. “Until then,” Showalter said, “we’re excited to bring people into the mission and share in what will be an amazing flyby on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, 2019!”