CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Heads up, armchair travelers.
NASA is seeking a nickname for a tiny, icy world on the edge of the solar system that’s the next destination for New Horizons, the spacecraft that surveyed Pluto.
New Horizons whipped past Pluto two years ago. Now it’s headed for 2014 MU69 — gobbledygook to even the most die-hard scientists.
To lighten the mood as New Horizons aims for a 2019 flyby, the research team is holding a naming contest. The deadline is Dec. 1.
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MU69 is 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) away and may actually be two objects, either stuck together or orbiting one another. If so, two nicknames would be needed. The nicknames will be temporary. NASA said Monday that a formal name will come after the flyby.