Press Release

Name the Asteroid “1999 JU3”, Hayabusa2’s Target!

July 22, 2015 (JST)

National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started to invite naming proposals for the near Earth asteroid 1999 JU3, which is the target of Hayabusa2, the mission to return samples from the asteroid.

  1. Fill out the application form below before the deadline, August 31, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. (Japan Standard Time).
    The special site will not be accessible on Aug. 30 due to a blackout of the facility. Accordingly, we would like to extend the application deadline as follows. (As of August 28, 2015)
    New deadline for application: 11:59 p.m. on August 31 (Mon.) 2015 (Japan Standard Time)
  2. No conditions are required. Applying multiple times is also possible.
  3. Asteroid naming guidelines:
    Asteroids can't be named just anything; the International Astronomical Union IAU) has rules. The following are conditions stipulated by IAU for naming an asteroid.

Proposed names must be:

  • no more than 16 characters long (including any spaces or punctuation);
  • preferably one word;
  • pronounceable (in some language);
  • written using Latin characters (transliterations of names from languages not written using Latin characters are acceptable);
  • non-offensive;
  • not identical with or even too similar to an existing name of a minor planet or natural planetary satellite.
  1. Submissions must be made through the official proposal application form.
  2. The entries will be judged by a selection panel including outside experts and staff from the HAYABUSA2 project, which will inform the selected name to the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) Team of the U.S., that has right to suggest the name for 1999 JU3, and the LINEAR will propose the name to the IAU. Then, the Committee for Small-Body Nomenclature of the IAU will review the name.
  3. The name will be finalized when it appears in the issue of “Minor Planet Circulars (MPCs)” published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), a subordinate organization of the IAU. The publication timeframe is not clear at this moment, but it is expected to be sometime around the end of November 2015. For your information, the MPCs is issued monthly. Please check it on the following website.
  4. Special website