Sumerian astronomers named the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn after their gods. Ancient China named planets after things of nature, like water, fire, or wood. The English names for planets came from the Romans, who named them after their gods and goddesses.
More distant planets were generally titled by the people who found them. They continue with historical trends by naming planets after ancient Greek and Roman gods.
These days, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has more creative rules for naming new planets.
Broadly, planetary names mirror the identity of the planet: The features of Venus are named after women. The parts of the Martian moon Deimos get their names from authors who wrote about Mars. Some of the naming schemes are playful: Craters on the asteroid Gaspra are named after spas of the world.
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