The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Monday it has given the name "Ryugu" (dragon palace) to an asteroid, originally designated 1999 JU3, that its Hayabusa 2 space probe will reach in 2018.
Ryugu is the name of an undersea dragon palace in a Japanese fairy tale, from which mythical fisherman Urashima Taro takes a treasure box. The probe's mission to bring back rock samples from the asteroid back has been likened to the legend, the Japanese space agency known as JAXA said.
The name, suggested by 30 members of the public, was selected from 7,336 submissions to JAXA between July 22 and Aug. 31, it said.
The name has been put on the asteroid list of the International Astronomical Union as proposed by JAXA via a U.S. team, the agency said.