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spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy

Who Thought Asking The Internet To Name NASA’s Uranus Mission Was A Good Idea?

Oh for goodness' sake.

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockSep 12 2022, 13:18 UTC
The blue ice giant uranus photographed against a black sky
Yes, there were a lot of bum jokes. Image credit: CSMFHT/Twitter, NASA Voyager Space Probe

Asking the public to name things is a terrible idea. Just ask any sailor who nearly served on the good ship Boaty McBoatface. But here we are again (albeit in a less official capacity, perhaps they learned) after an unofficial Twitter account appealed to the Internet to name a probe that will shortly explore Uranus.

The Uranus Orbiter and Probe is a project that NASA hopes will be launched sometime in the early 2030s. The mission would spend several years orbiting Uranus, possibly sending a probe down through its atmosphere to the surface. It could tell us a lot about the makeup of the ice giant, which is why such an important mission's name should not be left to the public.

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However, the Ice Giant Missions Twitter account asked its followers what the mission should be called.

With an official-looking poster image, a number of people took the question to mean that NASA itself was asking the question, but no trace of such a scheme is to be found on any official NASA sites, and given the mission is not yet greenlit, it's unlikely that they'd ask people to come up with inevitable butt jokes just yet.

Some of the publishable naming suggestions received have been shared by Ice Giant Missions. 

To be fair, some were quite creative and made good use of NASA's love of acronyms and backronyms: A.N.U.S (Advanced New Uranus Space mission), and R.E.C.T.U.M (Research Education Charging Towards Uranus Mission) for example. 

Some were more obvious: Operation Butt Plug, Pegassus, Seymore Butts and Suppository. Proby McProbeface of course made an entrance on the list.  

Thankfully for the poor Uranus probe just begging to be taken seriously, there were actual suggestions that are more befitting of the Uranus explorer. Some of our favorites include Odin, who was the Norse god that led Asgard to defeat the Frost Giants, and Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind and bringer of winter. 

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If you really want to name an official space object something silly, you can enter to name one of the exoplanets that JWST will explore this year. Can't wait to meet Exoplanet McExoplanetface. 


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