In 2015, the New Horizons team performed the first flyby mission near Pluto and its moons, bringing back some valuable findings of these distant cosmic bodies. This is how they discovered a series of features on Pluto’s biggest moon, Charon. After unofficially naming these formations, the International Astronomical Union finally approved these names given by the scientists.
IAU agreed to name the features of Charon
When scientists found out there were so many formations on the surface of Charon, they gave them different names. They sent a proposal to the IAU, which is the official authority when it comes to giving and approving names of cosmic bodies. Scientists kept calling the formations by those names informally, but now the IAU finally agreed to some of the names.
Charon is among the most important bodies in the Kuiper Belt, and has an impressive array of features, craters, and formations. These are typical of any moon, and they definitely needed more thorough study. However, this study is easier if you have names for each formation.
The names pay homage to exploration and traveling
This is why the New Horizon team decided it was time to find some denominations for all these formations. It wasn’t quite an easy task, so they decided to ask other people for help. They developed a Plutoonline campaign in 2015, and there they asked for name recommendations for Charon’s formations. The results were a true inspiration.
The names of the Charon features honor the exploration spirit of humans as a symbol of the lengthy journey of the New Horizon spacecraft. Therefore, the denominations include names of famous scientists, travelers, places, or explorers. Among the most popular names, there is the Argo Chasma, named after the ship of the Argonauts. The Clarke Montes is an homage to the famous sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke, while the Kubrick Mons honors Stanley Kubrick, the director of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons