Greek and Roman naming of space

The planets are named for gods in Roman mythology, what about Greek mythology?

Some of our rockets and rocket programs are named for Greek gods (Athena, Nike).

Greek mythology brings us names for moons in our solar system. Rhea was Chronos’s (Saturn in Roman mythology) wife and Saturn’s 2nd largest moon is named for her. Phobos, the Greek god of fear is Mars’s largest moon. Deimos, son of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus) also is a Martian moon.

Charon, was the ferryman for Hades (Pluto) and is a moon of Pluto. Though Pluto’s other moons Hydra and Nix have no Greek origin. Neither do any of the moons of Jupiter found after 2000 when the IAU apparently ran out of gods.

Nifty space communications simulator

NASA has released a nifty simulation of the space communications network including the Deep Space Network, communication with the ISS, Hubble Space Telescope and ICESat.  It’s the best way I’ve found to explain how we can communicate with the Mars Exploration Rovers over that long distance and still reach their tiny antennas.

It is built on top of Celestia an incredible piece of open source software which allows you to explore the solar system and beyond in 3D.  Celestia can be a little unwieldy and hard to control at first but NASA’s implementation here is very straight forward.  You might want to mute the Mannheim Steamroller track after the first run through though, it gets a little old.

More info: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/mar/HQ_10-062_SCAN_game.html