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Contest Rules and Eligibility

Contest Status

We have a winner! Visit the contest home page for details.

The contest is open to students age under 18 as of the contest deadline December 2, 2012. An adult age 18 or over must submit contest entries on behalf of the entrant.  Submissions must be made through the official contest entry form.

Children of employees of The Planetary Society, of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, of the University of Arizona, or of OSIRIS-REx team members, are ineligible to enter.

In order for an entrant to accept the grand prize, parental consent must be given to the Planetary Society, NASA, the University of Arizona, and MIT Lincoln Laboratory to use the name and likeness of the grand prize winner in contest-related communications.

Entry Content

Eligible entries consist of the following information:

We strongly suggest submitters carefully review that each entry complies with the naming guidelines before submitting.


A pre-selection panel will review the initial entries for conformity to the rules.  Depending upon the number of entries received, the pre-selection panel may also perform a first round of selection of entries.

The entries will then be judged by a prize panel composed of staff from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the University of Arizona, and the Planetary Society, which will select and rank in order the top five recommended entries as finalists.

For any finalists whose entries were not submitted by parents/guardians, the Planetary Society will seek parental consent for participation in the contest.  Parents must respond with consent within one week of notification or the entry will be disqualified.

The top-ranked eligible selection will be submitted to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for selection.  Depending on the response from IAU, we reserve the right to modify proposed names to satisfy IAU requirements, or to submit the next-ranked entry name, if the top-selected name is rejected.

The grand prize will go to the entrant who submitted the name approved by the IAU (or a name that was slightly modified if needed to comply with IAU requirements).  The other finalists will receive runner-up prizes. In the case of multiple submissions of the winning names, prizes will go to the submission judged to have the best justification paragraph.  The judging panel will consider the age of the contest entrant when comparing justification paragraphs.


The Grand Prize winner will have named a part of the solar system! They will also be invited to participate in a public video or phone conference with OSIRIS-REx mission team members and the discoverer of the asteroid.

Both Grand Prize winner and runners-up will see their names, photos, and submitted justification paragraphs posted on the OSIRIS-REx and Planetary Society websites. They will receive a prize package of materials to hand out at their school that may include OSIRIS-REx mission patches, stickers, and posters; copies of Planetary Report Kids; a model of the asteroid; or other fun mission- and space-related items. (Prize package contents are subject to change.) They will receive one year of membership in The Planetary Society. And they will be invited to participate in a Google+ Hangout On Air with Bill Nye the Science Guy.

The naming contest for the near Earth asteroid currently named (101955) 1999 RQ36 is a partnership of the Planetary Society; MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, the discoverers of (101955) 1999 RQ36; and the University of Arizona, who under principal investigator Dante Lauretta was chosen by NASA to lead the OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) asteroid sample return mission.

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