Pluto’s Newly Discovered Moon May Be Named Vulcan, Thanks To Capt. Kirk
Two new moons were recently discovered orbiting Pluto, the planet that isn’t a planet anymore, and one of them may end up being named Vulcan thanks to William Shatner:
An online vote to name Pluto’s two newest, itty-bitty moons is over. And No. 1 is Vulcan, a name suggested by actor William Shatner, who played Capt. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” TV series.
Vulcan snared nearly 200,000 votes among the more than 450,000 cast during the two-week contest, which ended Monday. In second place with nearly 100,000 votes was Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guarded the gates of the underworld.
Vulcan was the Roman god of lava and smoke, and the nephew of Pluto. Vulcan was also the home planet of the pointy-eared humanoids in the “Star Trek” shows. Think Mr. Spock.
“174,062 votes and Vulcan came out on top of the voting for the naming of Pluto’s moons. Thank you to all who voted!” Shatner said in a tweet once the tally was complete.
Actor Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the reason- and logic-based Spock, had this to say in an email to The Associated Press: “If my people were emotional they would say they are pleased.”
Don’t assume Vulcan and Cerberus are shoo-ins, though, for the two tiny moons discovered over the past two years with the Hubble Space Telescope.
The contest was conducted by SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., the research base for the primary moon hunter. The 10 astronomers who made the discoveries will take the voting results into account, as they come up with what they consider to be the two best names.
Come on, though, is there any cooler name than Vulcan? And who’s going to disagree with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock?