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Solar-orbiting asteroid that is a quasi-moon of Venus gets a name

The asteroid 2002-VE, discoverd in 2002, is in a solar orbit that makes it a quasi-moon of Venus. This means that the asteroid and Venus are in very similar orbits around the Sun, with 2002-VE shifting back and forth periodically from within Venus’s orbit to outside it.

An official name for 2002-VE has now been approved by the International Astronautical Union, and the history of that name, Zoozve, is a silly one. It appears a podcaster had misread the name on a poster of the solar system that was on the wall of his 2-year-old son’s bedroom. (You can see the poster here). He read “2”s as “Z”s, so that instead of seeing “2002VE” he read it as “Zoozve”.

Since then he has been campaigning to make this misreading official, and has finally succeeded.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Matt

    I think its a good name. The world needs a bit a silliness from time to time

  • InspiredHistoryMike

    I was going to 2nd approval of the name after looking at the poster.
    Good story and face it, many famous things have been named with more silliness.

    However, Pluto is missing. So now I must be outraged!
    ok I’m over it.

  • Jeremy, Alabama

    Reminds me of a great story I read in a history of the Pacific rim.

    There were a small number of trading posts along the coast of Alaska. A cartographer collected all available trader scribble maps and wrote up a collated map for printing. The printer noticed an ink dot on the map, scribbled the word “name?” with an arrow to it. The word “name” got misread as “nome”, and was written onto the published map. Traders would sail along the coast to that place, see nothing but a large sandy gravel beach, and lay out their skins. Eventually shacks appeared, then a town, and Nome was born.

  • sippin_bourbon


    You say that, but then the people in charge reject “Boaty McBoatface”

    Silliness is not allowed when you point out that they are, in fact, the silly ones.

  • The Doctor

    They missed the obvious. Moon of Venus, named on Valentine’s Day, it should have been called Cupid

  • Dick Eagleson

    We should probably count ourselves fortunate that this object was given a nonsense name instead of the name of some deity of some obscure non-white tribe somewhere in Backofbeyondistan – those being the sorts of monikers recently popular with the oh-so-woke grandees of the IAU.

  • markedup2

    There’s a really good video about this, but I can’t find it my browsing history or YouTube search. This article is a good summary:

    The dad actually tracked it all down when he thought, “Venus has no moon” and wondered why the picture had one.

  • pouncer

    NOW the RadioLab team wants to name one of Earth’s own quasi-moons.

    I hope we can focus on 2006-FV35, the “easiest” of several to reach with our current rockets.

    Soft land your instruments there and you — eventually — fly by both Mars and Venus.

    It’s easier to market a moon mission, even a quasi-moon mission, if the moon has a cool name.

    Meanwhile there are twitter disputes about whether or not to invent a Greek Myth for some novel, fictional (mythically mythical?) character named Zoozve, romantic object of affection by both Venus and Apollo. Also, assuming the classical Greeks DID have a mythical character named Zoozve, how would the name be pronounced? “zoh-OZ-vee”?

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