Asteroid Ryugu photographed by Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft. (Credit: JAXA)
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Place names for locations on the surface of Ryugu were discussed by Division F (Planetary Systems and Bioastronomy) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (hereafter IAU WG) and approved in December 2018. We will introduce the place names in this article and the background to their selection.
As the appearance of Ryugu gradually became clear during the approach phase in June 2018, we used nicknames amongst the Hayabsua2 Project team to distinguish regions of the terrain. (For example, the crater now named “Urashima” was referred to as the Death Star crater in Star Wars!) However, in order to introduce Ryugu to the world, it is necessary to have names that are intentionally recognized rather than nicknames, which can be referred to in scientific papers and other articles. Therefore, the discussion regarding naming the Ryugu surface topology began within the team.
To name a place on a celestial body in the Solar System, you must first decide on a theme. For example, the theme for places on Venus is the “names of goddesses”. During discussions between the domestic and overseas project members, ...