Pluto Moons Named Styx And Kerberos, Despite Overwhelming Vote for 'Vulcan'
Two Pluto moons discovered in 2011 and 2012 have finally been given names, and Star Trek fans are not going to be pleased.
Kerberos and Styx are the new names for the Pluto moons, which previously had the placeholder names P4 and P5, respectively. The International Astronomical Union, which names celestial objects, selected the names based on the results of a "Pluto Rocks" poll sponsored by the SETI Institute.
Like Us on Facebook
The names came as a disappointment to Star Trek fans, who had been hoping that one of the Pluto moons would receive the name Vulcan, the Star Trek planet from which Mr. Spock hails. The name Vulcan did in fact get the most votes on the Pluto Rocks poll after William Shatner threw his support behind the idea; Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, tweeted that "'Vulcan' is the obvious choice."
But despite getting the most votes, the IAU decided against naming one of the Pluto moons Vulcan because of a technicality. The name also didn't conform to the naming scheme for Pluto's moons thus far, which are all names of Greek or Roman figures with associations to underworld mythology. The other three Pluto moons are Nix, Charon and Hydra.
"The name Vulcan had already been used for a hypothetical planet between Mercury and the Sun," the IAU said in a statement. "Although this planet was found not to exist, the term 'vulcanoid' remains attached to any asteroid existing inside the orbit of Mercury, and the name Vulcan could not be accepted for one of Pluto's satellites (also, Vulcan does not fit into the underworld mythological scheme)."
William Shatner isn't taking the decision lightly.
"What? That's impossible! I'm going to lead a revolt," Shatner told Wired when they informed him of the new Pluto moon names. "Pluto is so big and cold that it deserved to have a hot little rock running around it, named Vulcan -- for fire."
He later tweeted, "Star Trek fans have had it rough. First [Star Trek director JJ Abrams] blows up Vulcan and now SETI finds a loophole to deny it from coming back!"
© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.