IAU names two Pluto mountains after Tenzing Norgay, Edmund Hillary

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named two mountain ranges on icy dwarf planet Pluto as Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes after Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.

Indian/Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986) and New Zealand Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) were the first mountaineer to reach the summit of Mount Everest and return safely in 1953.

Key Facts

These two names were among 14 other names officially approved for naming 14 geographical features on icy dwarf planet by Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of IAU, the internationally recognised authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features.

These are first geological features on Pluto to be named following close flyby by New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015. The names pay homage to the underworld mythology, historic pioneers who crossed new horizons in exploration, pioneering space missions and scientists and engineers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Some other approved names are

Background

NASA’s New Horizons team proposed the names to IAU following first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons by the New Horizons spacecraft. Some of names were also suggested by public during ‘Our Pluto’ campaign, which was launched as a partnership between IAU, the New Horizons project and SETI Institute.

International Astronomical Union (IAU)

IAU is international association of professional astronomers, at the PhD level and beyond, active in professional education and research in astronomy. It was founded in 1919. It has 12625 members. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation.

Its mandate is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. It also acts as internationally recognized authority for assigning designations (names) to celestial bodies (stars, planets, asteroids, etc) and any surface features on them.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2018

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