The U.S. space agency is holding a contest online to decide on the nickname for the next American module to be added to the International Space Station (ISS). You can vote on a name by visiting the agency's Help NASA Name Node 3 page on the Web.
The suggested names prepared by NASA are Earthrise, Legacy, Serenity, and Venture; but you can also vote for a name of your own choosing.
Until now, NASA has simply referred to the next American module as Node 3, which will contain much of the future life-support resources needed to serve an expanded crew of six aboard the ISS and will also house the European Space Agency's Cupola observation module.
NASA's current plans call for the shuttle Endeavour to carry the newly named Node 3 to the ISS in December as the centerpiece of the STS-130 mission. Astronauts will then attach the cupola and the node to the port side of the Unity Node, where it will be integrated into the ISS by the space station's crew.
Node 3 will be used to house equipment for the overall Environmental Control and Life Support Systems on the ISS. These include: the Oxygen Generation System, which will recycle used water into hydrogen and oxygen; the Atmosphere Revitalization System, which will scrub carbon dioxide from the air onboard; the Water Recovery System, which will purify waste water; and the waste and hygiene compartment, which will offer the crew sophisticated bathroom resources.
For the naming contest, which will run until 20 March, NASA requests that voters bear in mind the spirit of the space station's international mission of peaceful exploration. It notes that previous ISS modules have reflected that spirit in names conveyed by other nation's to their habitat contributions, such as Kibo (or Hope) from Japan and Zarya (or Dawn) from Russia.
Someone may come up with a better name than the ones suggested by NASA (and mount a huge write-in campaign for it), but we at Spectrum Online think that the contest is going to be a slam-dunk for the one entry that stands out in the minds of techies everywhere: Serenity.