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with Stefan Nestler

Vote for Everest in space

Mount Everest

If you want, there will soon be a Chomolungma/Sagarmatha in outer space as well. The Tibetan and Nepalese names of the highest mountain in the world are in common on a NASA shortlist. The American space agency is looking for a nickname for an object in space that now bears the unadorned name “2014 MU69”. At the beginning of 2019, the NASA space probe “New Horizons” will fly past the object at a distance of about 3,000 kilometers, sending data to earth.

295 years for an orbit around the sun

That’s what MU69 could look like …

Little is still known about MU69, which was discovered only in 2014, eight years after the take-off of New Horizons. MU69 circles the sun at a distance of nearly 6.5 billion kilometers – far beyond Pluto, which the space probe had passed in summer 2015. The celestial body needs around 295 years to complete an orbit. It is expected that it has withstood the test of time like a frozen block. The scientists believe MU69 could look like a flattened egg, less than 30 kilometers long. It is also possible that the object consists of two parts. In this case NASA could also use two nicknames –   – like Chomolungma and Sagarmatha.

Vote until 1 December

… or something like that

You wonder what all this has to do with Mount Everest? NASA justifies it this way: “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 system.” Currently, Chomolungma/Sagarmatha ranks third in the NASA vote. A different mountain name leads: Uluru, the sacred mountain of the Aborigines in Australia. You can still vote here until 1 December – as many times as you like, says the NASA, but  please no more than once per day.


15. November 2017 | 17:47