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What’s In A Name?

Oh my, again the great British public has a dilemma, what to name the latest space mission which includes a British astronaut. These things always fill me with dread,even more so this time as our astronaut is the fun sounding Major Peake, no relation to Major Look or Major Jump I’m assured although rumours abound that there is a thin connection to Major Gofirst and a Mr G. Raffe. I ask you, where do they get these names from?

Anyway, to ignite the publics interest according to the BBC website they suggest that ‘entrants should consider a name that embodies the man, his mission aims and his interests.’ Ok, got that, any ideas on where to start?

‘An early favourite is “Beagle 3” – a successor to “Beagle 2”, which was the name of the UK’s inspirational, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to put a probe on the surface of Mars.’

And there we have it folks, whilst the good old US of A comes up with Skylab, Pioneer, Discovery and Challenger we take all the enthusiasm drummed up from reading the Fred Basset cartoon strip and lo and behold our first mission to land a proble on Mars is called a Beagle, yes, I know, we have an entire dictionary to choose and we go for a slightly dim dog who can smell a fart six miles away. And you know what, in a fit of exuberant excitement they want to bestow this rip roaring pride in our hearts title to the new mission, yay, go Beagle 3. You can almost hear the disappointment in every syllable, although the addition of a lively ‘3’ at the end lifts it a little until you realise it’s only there because number two failed.

Let’s have a little pride folks, start naming exciting stuff after things that don’t exist but sound kinda froody. How about Spaceshot Pt 3 – The Peake Of Excitement (see what I did there) or Thrustathumper to give it some oomph. My favourite is Spaceshaft, made to probe the inner workings of space, no batteries required.

See, a little imagination could boost us all as we read in the newspapers of a morning where our good old Major had been steering his Spaceshaft. TV news bulletins would be more entertaining as Spaceshaft probes black hole, or Spaceshaft thrusts into crater as excitement hits Major Peake.

Oh well, it’s a chance missed and no doubt we will be cheering on some dreary mission named after yet another dog. So I may as well throw one in there. How about Shihtzu?

Think about it, where ever they go there will be no animals so therefore no zoo’s and what do you call a zoo without animals?

That’s right…


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