NASA has released maps of Pluto with the first batch of proposed feature names being submitted to the IAU to become official names. There are some very nice ones, including a very good showing for the sci-fi/fantasy contingent. 😉 Pluto’s got awesomeness like Cthulhu Regio, Morgoth Macula and Balrog Macula, and Charon’s got the lion share with places like Gallifrey Macula, Alice Crater (after Alice in Wonderland), Kirk Crater, Macross Crater (since the SDF-1 first teleported itself out by Pluto in Robotech), Mordor Regio, Nostromo Chasma (don’t land, just nuke it from orbit), Tardis Chasma (yeah, they didn’t keep it properly uppercase), Vulcan Planum, and oodles more.
Also awesome is that they decided to have Pluto also commemorate spacecraft. And so we have both Challenger and Columbia Colles, Hayabusa Terra, Luna Linea, Pioneer Terra, Soyuz Colles, Sputnik Planum, Venera Terra, Viking Terra, and lastly, my personal favorite, Voyager Terra. The Voyager mission was originally intended to include a Grand Tour of all five outer planets, ending with Pluto, but funding delays pushed it out long enough that it missed the necessary planetary alignment to achieve that. Voyager 2 did manage a Grand Tour of all four gas giants, which is no mean feat, but it’s somehow fitting that this way at least something of Voyager finally made it to Pluto.
The full list is here, but the maps are in many ways nicer, so you can put a name to a place. My first criticism is that Mordor Macula shouldn’t be that weird dark polar cap on Charon. It should be called Utumno, if you’ve read your Silmarillion. 😉 Still, it’s very awesome and I do love it. Click these for the full-sized versions.
From OurPluto: Maps.