Name (or vote) your favourite Pluto-Charon Features

It seems that nominations and votes are taking up all my time this week. After Hugos, it’s Pluto, and the NASA’s campaign to encourage people all over the world to submit names for the new features the probe New Horizons is certainly going to discover during its flyby over the frozen (dwarf) planet the coming July. Can’t we really wait, can we?

So, in the meantime let’s keep us entertained with the name game.


There are three available ballots, one for the history of exploration, one (spot right, given the name of the world) for the mythology of the Underworld and the third is for literature. Culturally diverse submission are encouraged, so you will find Maya, Norse, Japanese, Mongolian divinities and infernal locations, with names as nice sounding as Tuonela, Xibalba, Zhadum. SFF writers can get plenty of ideas from them.

Some have genuinely interesting stories, like the English explorer Isabella Bird or the Buddhist monk Hyecho, the first man (it seems) to have travelled the whole Asian continent, from Far East to West, by sea and land, and having ven written a diary of his journey. For more, have a look at the Pluto page’s blog.


And, since history of exploration won’t be complete without fictional names, you do have Captain Nemo (Jules Vernes), The Enterprise (Star Trek) and Skywalker (Star Wars), but also Tintin (Herge) and Arthur Dent (Douglas Adams). And my beloved Heinlein with Kip Russell too (thanks to whoever has put it forward).

If this took your fancy, remember the ballot closes in 14 days. You can vote every day, and propose features too, so if you’re very motivated and your proposition is appealing to other kindred spirits you may have your way.

Kids’ contributions are encouraged as well, in case you have a bright one with stars (and planets) already in his/her mind.

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….And yes, I couldn’t resist and I submitted/voted too. My own choice was the spaceship Arcadia.  Captain Harlock is the most famous space pirate AND explorer of Japanese manga/tradition after all, and Arcadia is the name of his magnificent vessel.  If it gets enough nominations, it will make to the list. Maybe.

There are other reasons to chose the Arcadia: Harlock’s story, and the one of his spaceship, are pretty dark ones.  With a skull as its symbol, the ship has only 42 members onboard – and number 42 sounds in Japanese “shi ni” that means “to death”,  quite appropriate for a planet called Pluto.


  1. Sue, the YA Author

    Oh I LOVE Captain Harlock! Best movie ever (okay, the plot was kind of wonky and confusing but the graphics were astounding!). If I were to vote, I’d vote with you!

  2. Stephen P. Bianchini

    Thanks Sue, Harlock is one of my first manga/anime ever – and one of my long time favourites 🙂


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