Outer space is a fascinating thing. After the past few chaotic years on Earth, outer space is also a really
hopeful thing — aspirational, even. There's gotta be life on other planets, right? Jokes aside, the idea of giving your child a baby name inspired by space is simply cool. After all, a kid who's out of this world deserves a name that is, too.
If you like the idea of a space-themed name but don't want to name your child Jupiter, don't worry. (No offense if you
do want to name your child that, though.) There are a ton of beautiful space names that you may not have heard before, but totally give that intergalactic, ethereal vibe you're looking for. This list is a nice mix of different outer space names, from the unique-but-not-too-unique to the "Wow, I've never heard that before, can you spell it?" Whether you're an amateur stargazer, junior astrologist (naming your baby after a star sign is big Cancer energy), or a NASA buff, there's something on this baby name list for you. At the very least, it'll challenge you to think far, far beyond the typical baby name lists and embrace the final frontier. 1 Luna
Luna means "moon" in Latin, and Luna was the
ancient Roman moon goddess, the opposite of the sun. It's also the namesake of my favorite celebrity baby, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend's Luna Simone. It's sweet, it's easy to spell, and it's perfect for your little one. It definitely has a spunky vibe. 2 Apollo
In Greek mythology, Apollo is the son of Zeus and the god of several things (including
the sun, light, and music, to name a few). Apollo is also the name of the famous NASA program that successfully got men on the moon for the first time. The name Apollo has an impressive backstory, and it's a spunky name for a little boy. 3 Pandora
Some people might think of the music app when they hear the name Pandora — reality TV junkies, like me, might think of Lisa Vanderpump's daughter — but the name has a lot more history than that. In Greek mythology, Pandora was
the very first woman, and astronomers honored her by bestowing the name on one of Saturn's moons. 5 Halley
Meeting your daughter is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so naming her after Halley's comet is pretty accurate. After all, it's literally impossible to see Halley's comet
more than once in your lifetime, according to Space.com. Many have tweaked the name slightly (like the famous Halle Berry), but it's also gorgeous as is. 6 Atlas
In Greek mythology, Atlas was a famous titan who, after angering Zeus,
was forced to hold up the sky for all eternity. The name was also used for many different NASA launches. One of my friends named their son Atlas and he’s basically the coolest little boy ever, so I can vouch for the name wholeheartedly. 7 Nova
Who remembers the Disney movie
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century? In that cinematographic masterpiece, a singer named Proto Zoa performs a truly incredible song called "Supernova Girl" in a space station orbiting the earth... and that's all I can think of when I hear the name "Nova" now. Beyond silly movies, a supernova is basically a star explosion that happens at the end of a star's life. If your daughter's birth is as magical as a big, bright, star explosion... you've found her name. 8 Luke
What's more space-themed than
Star Wars? If you want to honor your son with a name from the iconic franchise, I would personally suggest Luke over Anakin, Yoda, Chewbacca, or Darth — although Benjamin would also be cool. Plus, naming your child after the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy is pretty awesome. 9 Cassiopeia
a constellation in the northern sky, and is also one of the easiest ones for amateur astronomers to spot. It was named after the Greek goddess, who was known to be beautiful but also quite vain. Your daughter will undoubtedly be just as beautiful, but much more humble. 10 Orion
Orion is the
most well-known constellation in the sky. Named after the Greek huntsman Orion, the constellation looks like a huntsman with a shield, raised arm, and sword. This is a great alternative to the more common name Ryan. Plus, it’s the one constellation that everyone can spot thanks to his famous belt of three stars. 11 Portia
a beautifully-named moon for one of our worst-named planets (Uranus). NASA describes it as " small and fast-moving," which will be perfect once your baby reaches toddlerhood. This moon was named after the heroine in Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, so it's also perfect for literary buff parents. 12 Phoenix eli_asenova/E+/Getty Images
The NASA Phoenix was
a spacecraft sent to Mars in 2007 (it landed in 2008) that was used to conduct various experiments about life on Mars. The program was considered a success, and the name Phoenix is a great fit for a brave little explorer. It’s also a mythological bird that rises from its own ashes, so you’ve got a double meaning that’s pretty great. 13 Andromeda
Why name your child after a star or a moon when you could name her after an entire galaxy? The Andromeda Galaxy is
the Milky Way's closest neighbor, and it contains over one trillion stars. Also, the name lends itself to some pretty cute nicknames like Andy and Mimi. It’s out there, alright, but in the best way. 14 Callisto
The second-largest moon of Jupiter would also work as a really fun, gender-neutral name. However, if you’re nerdy, you might recognize the name from
X-Men, where Callisto was the mutant leader of the Morlocks. Yes, she was in one of the movies, but we’re not going to talk about that because I’m a fan of the comics and it could get ugly. 15 Ripley
Yeah, I get it.
Alien isn’t real space, but I think it’s a perfectly valid space name. It can be used for any gender, and it’s extremely cute. Plus, Ellen Ripley was incredibly boss. She survived all of it, and never gave up. What a legacy to give to your kid. 16 Leo
Leo is not only the name of a constellation, it’s also an astrological sign. They are vibrant, exciting, and full of life. It is also the Latin word for Lion, so your child is already the king of beasts before they even take their first steps. Beyond that, it’s just a really cute name, and sounds equally good for an adult.
I love this name for a girl, and its connection to space — while not immediately apparent — is deeply meaningful. Mary Jackson was one of the amazing Black women
who helped launch the space program. She was a champion for minorities at NASA, and an amazing engineer. A very, very worthy name for any child. 18 Chandra
Chandra is actually
the name of an X-Ray observatory. Launched from the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999, this observatory is up there with Hubble in the level of importance of its discoveries. It actually captured the emission from a black hole on camera, leading to important new theories about what they are capable of. 19 Draco
Draco is the name of a constellation in the far northern sky. It was named centuries ago after the
Latin word for “dragon" because of its serpentine shape. As a name, you have to admit, Draco is pretty cool. It’s a little goth, a little fanciful, and I like it. 20 Camille
Ever wonder what a French astronomer would do if he not only studied the moon and stars, but also wrote weird novels? Let me introduce astronomer, author, and physical scientist,
Camille Flammarion. The background is cool, but the name is a stunner. You could call your baby “Cami,” for short, which is just plain adorable. 21 Mae
I can’t write a post about space names without including Mae.
Mae Carol Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, and an engineer. If that wasn’t impressive enough for you, she is also a fierce advocate for women’s and Black rights. The first Black woman in space, this is a name that should be on every baby name list out there. 22 Fang
Fang Lizhi was not only a genius astrophysicist, but also a bold and brave political dissident who helped students coalesce in the uprising at Tiananmen Square. He was imprisoned by the Chinese government for “reeducation” after calling for an overhaul on how the educational system was run. He was exiled to the United States where he died in 2012, and is a true name full of courage. 23 Hawking
Is there any scientist name cooler than “Hawking?” No, I contend that there is not. Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and did more for string theory than just about anyone else. He had questions and hypotheses about the universe that most of us can’t begin to wrap our heads around, and it made the world a more interesting place. He wanted a theory to explain everything. What a thing. What a name.
Hang with me on this one. Yes, it’s the name of a flower, and a beautiful one at that, but the
Annus Mirabilis (miraculous year) papers written by Albert Einstein in 1905, changed the way we all look at space and time forever. It set in motion what would be the work of a lifetime for Einstein. Also, Mira is a darned cute nickname. 25 Rhea
Rhea is a moon of Saturn, but also a daughter of Uranus in Greek mythology. She was a titan and the mother of the gods. Yes, you’re going to have to overlook the fact that she married her brother who then proceeded to eat their children whole like so many chicken nuggets. But hey, it’s still a really pretty name.
What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox
This article was originally published on
Aug. 31, 2018