Pluto and its moons get map names from art and literature

The people behind the Pluto mission offered up the chance to contribute to naming the geographical formations and locations. Click here for a spreadsheet for the list that has been submitted for approval.



"Following New Horizons’ history-making sweep past Pluto on July 14, 2015, the mission has released maps of Pluto and Charon with preliminary designations for the features found on these distant worlds. A month ago, we’d never seen these worlds as more than blurry balls, and now we have maps of their surfaces! Amazing.


The names – which still need to be made official – on Pluto come from many cultures in all parts of Earth. Those on Pluto fall into four major categories: space missions and spacecraft; scientists and engineers; historic explorers; and underworld locales, beings, and travelers.


The naming scheme for Charon fell under four categories as well: fictional explorers and travelers; fictional origins and destinations; fictional vessels; and exploration authors, artists, and directors.


Many features are informally named after science fiction characters, particularly from Star Trek and Star Wars. Some from Alien and Dr Who. Mordor Macular covering the north polar region including the North Pole of Charon, is from The Lord of the Rings.


Kubrick Mons named after Stanley Kubrick, is the curious Mountain in the Moat, the lofty mountain in a depression that does not appear to be an impact crater."