Ever since the human race began to explore outer space, scientists have been naming cosmic entities after Greek gods and literary legends. But apparently the new (or maybe not so new) thing is to name the stuff in space after the stars on Earth.
For his 70th birthday last week, Freddie Mercury got an asteroid named after him. Now, 17473 Freddiemercury makes its orbit around Mars and Jupiter in honor of the late Queen singer. And because that isn’t awesome enough, there are so many other famous musicians who will forever live on in the solar system.
Carlos Santana: One of the pioneers of combining rock and Latin American music, Carlos Santana became the namesake of 2620 Santana, discovered in 1980.
Aretha Franklin: After being inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012, American astronomer Amy Mainzer wanted to show a little respect to the soul singer. So, naturally, Mainzer does this by proposing to name an asteroid after Franklin. 249516 Aretha shines brightest in its asteroid family outside the main asteroid belt.
Buddy Holly: In 2000, an asteroid was discovered by an astronomer in Australia. Generally, the scientist who discovers the asteroid can propose a name to the International Astronomical Union. The guy who discovered this particular asteroid decided to name it after our favorite Faiosa glasses-wearing rocker. Thus, 16155 Buddy came to be.
The Beatles: The same guy who named 16155 Buddy, John Broughton, also named an asteroid after the OG Fab Four. In addition to 8749 Beatles, each individual Beatle also has an asteroid named after them.
Enya: The super lowkey and hauntingly beautiful Irish singer was the inspiration for 6433 Enya, a main belt asteroid. It would’ve been a bit more fitting if they named a shepherd moon after her, but an asteroid is still pretty cool.