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NASA seeks nickname for tiny, icy world on solar system edge

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(NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via AP). This illustration provided by NASA shows the New Horizons spacecraft. The probe whipped past Pluto in 2015 and is headed to 2014 MU69 for an attempted 2019 flyby of the tiny, icy world on the edge of the solar system. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via AP). This illustration provided by NASA shows the New Horizons spacecraft. The probe whipped past Pluto in 2015 and is headed to 2014 MU69 for an attempted 2019 flyby of the tiny, icy world on the edge of the solar system.

By MARCIA DUNN
AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Heads up, armchair travelers.

NASA is seeking a nickname for a tiny, icy world on the edge of the solar system that's the next destination for New Horizons, the spacecraft that surveyed Pluto.

New Horizons whipped past Pluto two years ago. Now it's headed for 2014 MU69 - gobbledygook to even the most die-hard scientists.

To lighten the mood as New Horizons aims for a 2019 flyby, the research team is holding a naming contest . The deadline is Dec. 1.

MU69 is 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) away and may actually be two objects, either stuck together or orbiting one another. If so, two nicknames would be needed. The nicknames will be temporary. NASA said Monday that a formal name will come after the flyby.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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