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Trekkies put their stamp on Pluto moon naming contest

After nearly a half million votes cast by the public, Pluto’s two tiniest moons may have new names—one of which could be named after the home world of famous fictional pointy-eared humanoid Mr. Spock. Astronomer Michael Showalter and his team who discovered these tiny worldlets asked the online community for help in naming the moons, now…

Mercury Probe Searches for Vulcanoids, Spies Venus

The closer stuff is to the sun, the harder it is to see. —Image courtesy SOHO (ESA & NASA) That’s the fundamental problem with vulcanoids, a hypothetical band of asteroids orbiting between the sun and the closest planet in, Mercury. In fact, for years that was the problem with studying Mercury, since looking at the…

Mars Science Lab Team Picks “Fab Four”; Naming Contest Debuts

After what sounded like some pretty exhilarating deliberations back in September, JPL announced today the final four candidate sites for landing the Mars Science Lab, NASA’s next big rover bound for the red planet. Sayonara, Miyamoto. Farewell, Nili Fossae. And so long South Meridiani. These three of the seven under consideration were voted off the…