With our space expeditions running further and further from home, why is it that our language and naming abilities aren’t stretching the same distance? Why are scientists in charge of the whole procedure if they have no creativity? I wouldn’t want to be living on a lump of rock with numbers for a name.
So today, I was thinking about those planets that aren’t lucky enough to be in our solar system. More specifically the ones with the rubbish names. Yes Gliese 581g, I’m looking at you.
The Earth like planet was found within the last couple of years but millions of light years away in a far strung galaxy named… yes, Gliese. It seems that every planet in our solar system has a cool enough name, so why can’t that stretch beyond the nine (sorry, eight and Pluto) planets orbiting our sun? It’s not like we’ve run out of words. It would be far more interesting than numbers anyway.
After a bit of research it seems that the International Astronomical Union are responsible for the naming procedure, and a lot of thought goes into this process. That is, each string represents a different galaxy, the next marks the solar system etc. Already 300 to 350 stars have been given ‘names’ so they have reverted to this classification method. There was also information regarding the original naming of the six closest planets to our sun and that they all come from Greek gods. Well, naturally.
Comets are slightly different. The first one to be named was ‘Halley’s comet,’ one I’m sure we are all familiar with. Since the 20th Century we have taken the tradition so that the discoverer is, in the majority of the cases, naming his/her comet after his/herself. Slightly better, but not very original still is it?
This isn’t supposed to be a rant after all! Maybe more of a call to arms. When the talk is of us exploring more and more of space (after all we probably need to think of moving out of here some time into the future) why not be creative with where we are going. Let’s throw out the library system and get inventive. Step it up scientists…