Feeds

Star bosses name asteroid to honor author Iain Banks

Asteroid Iainbanks to be so known 'as long as Earth Culture may endure'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has officially named an asteroid after the recently-deceased Scottish author Iain Banks, a 6.1 km (3.8 mile) "stony" rock in the main asteroid belt orbiting the Sun.

Dr Jose Luis Galache of the Minor Planets Centre (MPC) heard about Bank's diagnosis of cancer and, as a reader of his science fiction, came up with the idea of an asteroid honor. However, the MPC only classifies asteroids with a numeric status, and so he picked out a candidate, asteroid 5099, and nominated it to the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN) at the IAU.

"With the help of Dr Gareth Williams, the MPC's representative on the CSBN, we submitted a request to name an asteroid after Iain Banks with the hope that it would be approved soon enough for Mr Banks to enjoy it," he wrote in the MPC blog.

"Sadly, that has not been possible. Nevertheless, I am here to announce that on June 23rd, 2013, asteroid (5099) was officially named Iainbanks by the IAU, and will be referred to as such for as long as Earth Culture may endure."

Asteroid Iainbanks was discovered in 1985 by Belgian astronomer Henri Debehogne and has since been sighted 1,334 times. It's no danger to Earth, but forms a stable part of the rubble belt between Mars and Jupiter left over from a planet that didn't achieve critical mass.

Iain Banks/Iain M Banks

The Sun will carry on shining over Iainbanks

"Iain M. Banks (1954-2013) was a Scottish writer best known for the Culture series of science fiction novels; he also wrote fiction as Iain Banks. An evangelical atheist and lover of whisky, he scorned social media and enjoyed writing music. He was an extra in Monty Python & The Holy Grail," the asteroid's citation reeds.

It is indeed a pity that Banks' cancer was so aggressive that he missed the naming. When Banks broke the news of his illness, it was hoped he would last a year, and certainly long enough to see the publication of his last book The Quarry in June, but sadly the disease spread too fast.

In the author's Culture SF series asteroids feature as hollowed-out semi-natural space craft that travel the universe in search of pastures new and interesting, or that are designed as stealth storage depots for weaponry that can float through the galaxy inconspicuously and be deployed as needed (read Excession for more details).

Other writers who have been similarly honored with asteroid names include Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Terry Pratchett, Kurt Vonnegut, and Douglas Adams.

Banks is in very good company. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.