It is a poor idea to ask the general population to name things. Ask any sailor who came close to serving aboard the admirable Boaty McBoatface. But after an unauthorized Twitter account asked the internet to suggest names for a probe that will soon investigate Uranus, here we are again (albeit in a less official capacity, perhaps they learned).
NASA plans to launch the Uranus Orbiter and Probe at some point in the early 2030s. The mission would orbit Uranus for a number of years and possibly send a probe through its atmosphere to the planet’s surface. Because it could reveal a lot about the characteristics of the ice giant, the identity of such a crucial mission shouldn’t be made public.
The Ice Giant Missions Twitter account, however, enquired as to what the mission’s name should be.
Many people believed that because the question appeared on an official-looking poster, NASA itself was posing it. However, there is no evidence of such a scheme on any official NASA websites, and since the mission has not yet been approved, it is unlikely that NASA would ask for people to submit inevitable butt jokes just yet.
Ice Giant Missions has given a few of the publishable moniker ideas submitted.
A.N.U.S (Advanced New Uranus Space mission) and R.E.C.T.U.M (Research Education Charging Towards Uranus Mission), for instance, were highly inventive and made full use of NASA’s fondness for acronyms and backronyms.
Operation Butt Plug, Pegasus, Seymore Butts, and Suppository were a few that stood out more. Of course Proby McProbeface appeared on the list.
Thankfully, there were actual recommendations that are more appropriate for the Uranus explorer, unlike the pitiful Uranus probe that was pleading to be taken seriously. Some of our favorites are Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind and the bringer of winter, and Odin, the Norse god who guided Asgard to victory over the Frost Giants.
You can enter to name one of the exoplanets that JWST will examine this year if you truly want to give an official space object a ridiculous name. Interested in getting to know Exoplanet McExoplanetface.