The seventh planet from the sun, Uranus, was close to being called George, and apparently we’ve been pronouncing its name wrong this whole time.
NASA is launching another mission to discover more about everyone’s favourite round, gassy object, Uranus.
The announcement that NASA was going to probe Uranus is funny enough in itself, but to make things even better, the last time they sent a mission to the planet, they found that Uranus was leaking gas. You can’t make this stuff up.
Nobody’s disputing the comedic value of Uranus’ name, but the seventh planet from the sun was actually close to being called George instead.
It took 70 years to name the planet after it was discovered, and in 1781, a (very boring) guy called William Herschel almost called Uranus “Georgian Sidus”, which is a fancy-pants way of saying George’s Star, named after King George III.
Ready to be even more shocked? Apparently we’ve all been saying Uranus wrong. Well, possibly not, but astronomers insist that the proper way to pronounce the planet’s name is “Uran-us”. Yes, like urine-ass.
But anyway, back to the actual mission. Scientists are hoping the probe will be ready to launch by 2031 or 2032, but because Uranus so far away from Earth, it won’t reach the planet for another 12 years after that.
“It’s really the mission for the next generation of scientists because it is on such a long timescale,” said NASA Scientist Dr Amy Simon.
The probe will spend time gathering data about the planet before sending a probe through its surface. But as far as we’re concerned, as long as they never change its name, they can do whatever the heck they want.