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Pluto's Largest Moon Gets Its First Official Feature Names

11 Apr 2018, 05:11 UTC
Pluto's Largest Moon Gets Its First Official Feature Names NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Legendary explorers and visionaries, real and fictitious, are among those immortalized in the first set of official surface-feature names for Pluto's largest moon, Charon.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features, recently approved a dozen names proposed by NASA's New Horizons mission team, which led the first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons (by the New Horizons spacecraft) in 2015. The New Horizons science team had been using many of the chosen names informally to describe the many valleys, crevices and craters discovered during that first close-up look at the surface Charon.

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