A new campaign aims to start giving popular names to the hundreds of alien planets that have been discovered around the Milky Way galaxy.
The space-funding company Uwingu announced this “Adopt-a-Planet” effort today (May 1), asking the public to propose and vote on names for the many and varied worlds now known beyond our solar system.
Any moniker that receives at least 1,000 votes earns its nominator the chance to “adopt” (and name) theexoplanet of his or her choice. Such winners will also receive an adoption certificate, links to detailed information about the adopted planet and $100 in Uwingu store credits, company officials said. [The Strangest Alien Planets (Gallery)]
Adopt-a-Planet is similar to a month-long contest Uwingu staged recently to give a people’s-choice name to Alpha Centauri Bb, the closest known exoplanet to Earth at just 4.3 light-years away. (The winner: Albertus Alauda.)
The new adoption effort, however, is open-ended and seeks names for many different alien worlds.
"We’re happy to have winner after winner after winner," Uwingu CEO Alan Stern, a former NASA science chief who also heads the agency’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, told SPACE.com. "There are plenty of exoplanets out there."