Have you always wanted to leave your mark on outer space but didn’t know how? If you’re anything like us, you spend a lot of time in a dark room (it’s like we live in caves scattered around the country), scouring the Internet, and are hardly any kind of astronaut material (I shudder to think what astronaut training would do to my questionably shaped body, I imagine I would wind up looking like Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd in Spies Like Us). But now none of that matters, and you can help named the landing site for the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission. But you better hurry, because the competition ends today.
The Philae lander is scheduled to set down on Comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the middle of next month on November 12. This will mark the first soft landing on a comet ever by a manmade object, which is pretty memorable, and will, inevitably, lead to more and more Armageddon style adventures in real life. Right now the location is designated Site J, which is hardly befitting of such a momentous occurrence, so ESA and their mission partners want your help in coming up with a better moniker.
You can propose whatever name you want, but it can’t be the name of any person, living or dead. So you can’t name it after your son or daughter or sweetheart, sorry. They will, however, consider mythological names, so there’s that. And, obviously, anything deemed offensive or obscene, no matter the language, will automatically be discarded, so keep it clean and friendly, kids.
Entries must be accompanied by a short explanation, no longer than 200 words, detailing why this is the best name, and I imagine it will have to be something more in depth than “because it’s awesome,” which was going to be the logic behind my entry. I’ll have to come up with something better.
A jury will decide on the winner, which will be announced on November 3 on Rosetta’s web page and via social media channels, as well as more traditional outlets in all of the participating countries, like Germany, France, and Italy. And whoever submits the victorious proposal will be invited to ESA mission control in Darmstadt, Germany on November 12 in order to watch the landing go down in person. There’s no word on whether or not they’re offering to foot the travel bill or not, and a last-minute ticket to Germany sounds expensive. Either way, even if you can’t go to the party, it’s nice to be invited.
So you’ve got your work cut out for you, and a rapidly ticking clock, so get to work. Check out the full rules HERE, and you can submit your brilliant idea HERE. And if you’re, by some stroke of luck or genius, chosen, we want to hear about that shit.