As many of you may know, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto this morning, and the world is poised to (hopefully) receive its photos soon. But why am I talking about this on a blog about books? Well! When new features are discovered on an object in space they must be given names. Sometimes the astronomers who discovered the feature will name it, sometimes the researchers who studied it will, but this time, the New Horizons mission team decided to ask the public what they wanted.
And lo, the resulting list of names contains quite a few denizens of the literary world.
You can check out a piece I wrote about this here. It has more details about the steps that go into naming features in space, and where in the process the International Astronomical Union is now in approving them.
Or if you want to skip right to the goods, you can check out the list and the raw tally results. J.R.R. Tolkien seems to be the most popular, but though I would also like to see him immortalized in space, what I really want to see is Cthulhu find his rightful place among the stars.
I can’t help imaging the human race 500 years in the future, reading an anthology of Lovecraft’s horror like a historical tome, and wondering if Cthulhu really is living on Pluto, waiting to attack us puny Earthlings with his eldritch horrors…