Descriptions of the Nominees

Here is the complete list of names we voted on, including the dates during which they appeared on the ballot.

Note that we removed names occasionally to make room for new names. The dates during which each name appeared on the ballot are listed here. See our Vote Tally pages for a ranking of the most popular names.


Abeona was the Roman Goddess of outward journeys and protector of travelers. She was also thought to watch over a child’s first steps and to protect children when the first go out to explore the world around them. The name is apt as the destination of New Horizons as it journeys deep into the Kuiper Belt.

Año Nuevo

This is “New Year” in Spanish. It recognizes that the MU69 flyby is on New Year’s Day, 2019. It is a forward-looking name for space exploration. If MU69 turns out to be two bodies, we can call them “Año” and “Nuevo”.


A’Tuin is a giant turtle who carries  Discworld  on his or her back in a series of humorous fantasy novels by  Terry Pratchett. A’Tuin’s journey through the cosmos is a central part of the Discworld creation myth and a topic of endless speculation for the inhabitants of this world.


Camalor is the fictional city of an alien species living on a small, cold world in the Kuiper Belt. It appeared in the 1993 novel  Camelot 30K, by  Robert L. Forward.

These are the names of Mt. Everest in Tibet and Nepal. Like MU69, Everest is a cold, distant place and a challenge to reach. Chomolungma is translated as “Mother of the World”, echoing our hopes that MU69 will help us to understand the origins of our solar s.ystem.


Located in Alaska, Denali is the tallest mountain peak in North America. Its name means “Great One” in the language of the native  Koyukon  people.


In ophthalmology, the far-point is the most distant point at which the eye sees clearly. For MU69, it describes humanity’s most distant planetary encounter and also the clear view and new knowledge that we will obtain.

Huginn & Muninn

In Norse mythology, these two ravens explore the world and bring information to  Odin. As gatherers and preservers of knowledge, they are an apt metaphor for New Horizons gathering information and for MU69 preserving knowledge about solar system formation.

Kibo, Mawenzi, Shira

These are the three peaks of  Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. The journey of New Horizons to MU69 brings to mind climbers reaching for high, cold mountain summits.

Lewis & Clark

In 1803, President Jefferson commissioned  Meriwether Lewis  and  William Clark  to  explore the US west. With the cooperation of the native peoples, the company returned in 1806 with a wealth of new knowledge about a region previously unknown to westerners.


Mawu-Lisa is the name of an androgenous creator god in some African and Afro-Caribbean traditions. Sometimes the name is split into  Mawu  and Lisa, separate female and male spirits, who worked together to create the world. This name is ideal for MU69, where the we could use Mawu-Lisa for one body or Mawu and Lisa for a two. As names from a creation myth, these could potentially be approved as formal names for MU69 by the  IAU.


Many societies have constructed structures out of large stones, called megaliths. Megalithic structures are found in all parts of the world dating back to prehistory, and stand today as monuments to human ingenuity.


This is the name of  Thor‘s hammer in Norse mythology. A contact binary could have a shape resembling a hammer. The mythology of a northern culture

Introducing “Ultima Thule” : NASA’s Ultimate Destination in the Kuiper Belt!

NASA and the New Horizons team are pleased to announce that our target body in the Kuiper Belt, formally known as “(486958) 2014 MU69“, is being nicknamed Ultima Thule. The name comes from medieval mapmakers, where Thule (pronounced “thoo-lee”) was a distant and unknown island thought to be the northernmost place on Earth. “Ultima Thule” (which translates as “farthest Thule” or “beyond Thule”) has come to be used as a metaphor for any mysterious place “beyond the borders of the known world”. This is an apt metaphor for the tiny object, four billion miles away, that will be the next destination of the New Horizons spacecraft.

The name was nominated independently by about 40 participants in the Frontier Worlds campaign, and was ranked very highly in the voting. Ultima Thule will serve as the unofficial nickname for MU69 through the flyby on New Year’s day, 2019. Later in 2019, we will work with the International Astronomical Union to establish a formal, permanent name for the body.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the naming campaign! Now join us on our ultimate journey.

–Mark Showalter and the New Horizons Science Team

Voter’s Guide

Here is the complete list of names we voted on, including the dates during which they appeared on the ballot.

Note that we removed names occasionally to make room for new names. The dates during which each name appeared on the ballot are listed here. See our Vote Tally pages for a ranking of the most popular names.

We are grateful to everyone who has participated in the Frontier Worlds naming campaign for MU69. The New Horizons Project and NASA are already starting to review the results of the campaign. We hope to announce the informal name for MU69 soon.

The campaign involved 115,000 participants from 193 nations. We received over 34,000 nominations! The imagination and creativity that went into the nominees was amazing, and I think that is reflected in the 37 diverse names that we placed on the ballot. I regret that we were only able to use a tiny fraction of the nominees, but NASA will review all of the submissions before making its selection.

Wanted: A Personalized License Plate in the Kuiper Belt

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues every car a license plate. Most contain a meaningless sequence of letters and digits.  License plates serve one purpose only, which is to make each vehicle unique.  For those of us who crave something more interesting, or at least pronounceable, the DMV gives us another option—a personalized license plate.

In a similar way, the  Minor Planet Center  (MPC) gives every body in  the solar system  a unique identifier.  The New Horizons spacecraft is now headed toward a small, ancient world in the Kuiper Belt, at the edge of our solar system. The MPC has issued its license plate: “(486958) 2014 MU69”.  Within the New Horizons science team, we have shortened that to “MU69”; it’s an improvement but, in conversation, it still amounts to five meaningless syllables.

The time has come to personalize the license plate for this frontier world.  We are asking for  your help. We need a nickname, or perhaps several, to talk about the next destination in the ongoing voyage of discovery by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. This is your opportunity to submit your best ideas and to share your opinions about a better way to refer to the body (or bodies!) that we are about to explore.