Last week SETI launched a contest for the public to choose the names of Pluto’s two moons, P4 and P5. While several options were already on the list, the Institute did allow voters to suggest names to add to their list.
Taking advantage of an opportunity for the ‘Star Trek’ franchise to “live long and prosper’ among the solar system, William Shatner decided to contact the voting organizers and ask if they would consider adding the names Romulus and Vulcan as possible monikers for the moons. (For you non-Trekkies, Romulus is the planet where Romulans hail from and Vulcan is Spock’s home planet.) While the organizers accepted Vulcan and added it to the list of possible names, they had to reject Romulus as it was already the name of one of asteroid 87 Silvia’s moons.
That was all Shatner needed and he has since made it his campaign to make sure at least one of the moons is named Vulcan – and it looks like it’s working! Each day on Twitter, Shatner reminds his followers to vote (you can vote once per day). As on Wednesday, February 21, the PlutoRocks.com site has received over 330,000 votes casted with close to 120,000 for the name Vulcan!
Of a field that contains 21 candidates with names like Persephone, Cerberus, Styx, Elysium and Hecate, it’s quite impressive that Vulcan even garnered as many votes as it has so far. While some of those votes are probably from those who are actual fans of the Roman God of Fire and may like the name itself, there’s no doubt the majority is coming from Trekkies.
Of course, just because the name wins, it still isn’t a guarantee that ir will be used. It’s up to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to make the final decision. However, it would be rather surprising if they do decide not to use the name considering the popularity and amount of interest just naming this moon Vulcan has already attracted.
There’s still time to vote for Vulcan if you’d like as the naming contest ends at noon EST on Monday, February 25th, 2013. Just head over to PlutoRocks.com and place your vote!
It does a geek proud to see those responding to Shatner’s rally cry. The power of Trekkies and geekdom in general is astounding and just goes to show that it truly is the “age of the geek!”
Now if we can only find something to name Gallifrey….