It's the war of the nerds: the two legendary space franchises will make their mark on Pluto's largest moon.
Are you a fan of Star Trek or Star Wars? Your favorite characters’ names may have found a new home far out in our solar system on Pluto’s moon Charon.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which recently astounded the world with shots of Pluto as it flew past recently, has been sending data back to Earth and will continue to do so for a while. Meanwhile, the team behind the spacecraft has unofficially named a bunch of Charon craters after characters from both of the famous sci-fi franchises, according to a Discovery News report.
So if you’re a Star Wars fan, the next time you’re in the area of Charon, you can stop by the Vader Crater, or other impact features that have been named after Star Wars characters like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, according to newly released maps from the New Horizons crew.
But if you’re a Trekkie, they’ve got you covered too. Obviously, James T. Kirk, captain of the starship Enterprise from the original series and played by William Shatner, will get his own crater. Mr. Spock, Sulu, and Uhura will also have features named after them.
On the scientific side, as data continues to flow in, the scientists continue to understand more both about Pluto and Charon. For one thing, the data from New Horizons shows that Pluto and Charon have incredibly complex and diverse surfaces with a lot more features than scientists had expected.
There’s no shortage of features to name after sci-fi things — and some of them outside the Star Wars and Star Trek universes. For example, a 750-mile-wide chasm on Charon has been named for the fictional spaceship Nostromo from the 1979 film Alien, and craters have been named for Arthur C. Clarke and Octavia Butler, both sci-fi authors.
Pluto’s features tend to get named after more real-life explorers, although one of the features was named after the Balrog, a monster from Lord of the Rings.