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Odysseus Joins the Ballot!

posted Apr 10, 2015, 1:49 PM by Mark Showalter
Ulysses and the Sirens, 1891 painting by John William Waterhouse
Yesterday saw a large set of new nominations added to the ballots, 27 in all. Check them out. The new names appear at the top of each ballot.

Many of you have been nominating Odysseus or Ulysses (his Roman name). Although he is one of the greatest explorers in all of literature, not to mention a visitor to the Underworld, we have kept his name off the ballot due to conflicts: Odysseus is the name of a crater on Saturn's moon Tethys, and Ulysses is the name of some major features on Mars. What to do? Convincing the IAU to let us re-use the name could be difficult. However, a few of our participants submitted an excellent alternative: Laertides. Odysseus was often addressed by this name, which means "son of Laertes" in Greek. While the name is less familiar, it opens up the possibility of giving Odysseus a second home on Pluto. The name now appears as "Odysseus Laertides" on the ballot for travelers to the Underworld.