Would you like to name the next great space telescope? Here's your chance: NASA is inviting members of the general public from around the world to suggest a new name for the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, otherwise known as GLAST, before it launches in mid-2008. GLAST is designed to probe the most violent events and exotic objects in the cosmos from gamma-ray bursts to black holes and beyond.
"We're looking for suggestions that will capture the excitement of GLAST's mission and call attention to gamma-ray and high-energy astronomy," says Alan Stern, associate administrator for Science at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. "We hope someone will come up with a name that is catchy, easy to say and will help make the satellite and its mission a topic of dinner table and classroom discussion."
The telescope's key scientific objectives include:
-- Exploring the most extreme environments in the Universe, where nature harnesses energies far beyond anything possible on Earth
-- Searching for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter
-- Understanding how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed
-- Cracking the mysteries of stupendously powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts
-- Answering long-standing questions about solar flares, pulsars and the origin of cosmic rays
Suggestions for the mission's new name may be an acronym, but that is not a requirement. Any suggestions for naming the telescope after a scientist may only include names of deceased scientists whose names are not already used for other NASA missions. All suggestions will be considered. The period for accepting names closes on March 31, 2008. Participants must include a statement of 25 words or less about why their suggestion would be a strong name for the mission. Multiple suggestions are encouraged.
To submit a suggestion for the mission name, visit: glast.sonoma.edu/glastname
Anyone who drops a name into the "Name That Satellite!" suggestion box on the Web page can choose to receive a "Certificate of Participation" via return e-mail. Participants also may choose to receive the NASA press release announcing the new mission name. The announcement is expected approximately 60 days after launch of the telescope.
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