"Vulcan" has big lead in bid to name Pluto's newly discovered moons

Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:04pm EST

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(Reuters) - "Star Trek" star William Shatner and tens of thousands of the show's fans are leading a charge to name one of Pluto's newly discovered moons after the character Spock's home planet.

Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk on the Starship Enterprise on the program launched in 1966, proposed the name earlier this month in response to an appeal from scientists for help in choosing the names of two newly discovered Pluto moons.

Vulcan is among 21 names in the running in an online poll organized by the California-based SETI Institute, whose team of astronomers discovered the moons.

As of Wednesday, Vulcan was the clear front runner, receiving more than 100,000 out of more than 330,000 votes cast.

Shatner, who starred along with Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the Vulcan science officer Spock on the long-running TV sci-fi show, rallied support for Vulcan on Wednesday on his Twitter account, writing: "We are approaching 120K votes for Vulcan on PlutoRocks.com! Have you voted today?"

Until now, the two moons, each of which are about 15 miles to 20 miles wide, have been known as P4 and P5. The P4 moon was discovered in 2011 and P5 a year later.

Before the discoveries, astronomers had identified and named three of Pluto's moons - Charon, Nix and Hydra.

Voting for the names of the new moons ends on February 25. The selected names will be submitted to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for consideration.

"Let's hope the IAU thinks Vulcan is a good name," Shatner said in another tweet.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Todd Eastham)

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Comments (3)
gregbrew56 wrote:
This name should be reserved for a planet that is really hot, like the Star Trek namesake. This would be like previously naming the first prototype Space Shuttle “Enterprise”. The Enterprise was only drop tested, and never made it into space. Very disappointing, without much forethought.

Feb 21, 2013 1:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
michael10sley wrote:
The ‘real’(mythical)Vulcan, the Roman god of fire would be very displeased to have a moon of a Plutid named after him instead of a fiery star elsewhere in the universe.

Feb 22, 2013 11:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BruceVoigt wrote:
Talk about picking on poor old Pluto.
Our NINTH Planet third or fourth from the sun will come bar-ling around the sun appearing to be heading right for us.

I Bruce Voigt claim that the recently discovered asteroid 2002 AA 29 is really a moon of (and yes I have named this planet) Old Bruce.
Old Bruce orbits the sun in close proximity to earths orbit every 365 point something day’s and the earth is slowly catching up or visa versa.

Feb 23, 2013 6:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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