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'Vulcan' takes top spot in poll to name new Pluto moon


Live long and prosper: actor Leonard Nimoy made the "Vulcan greeting" famous in the original Star Trek series
Live long and prosper: actor Leonard Nimoy made the "Vulcan greeting" famous in the original Star Trek series

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

February 26, 2013 — Star Trek fans joined actor William Shatner in a crusade to change the name of one of Pluto's newly-discovered moons to "Vulcan" -- and on Monday, their voices were heard.

Image of Pluto (centre) and moons Charon (below Pluto), Nix and Hydra (right of Pluto and Charon). Courtesy: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team
Image of Pluto (centre) and moons Charon (below Pluto), Nix and Hydra (right of Pluto and Charon). Courtesy: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team

It was a place that only existed in fiction -- until now.

Thanks to more than one hundred thousand Star Trek Fans, one of Pluto's newly-discovered moons is one step closer to being named 'Vulcan'.

It's the end result of a crusade led by actor William Shatner, known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series.

Earlier this month, he suggested that one of Pluto's new moons be named "Vulcan" -- the home planet of Kirk's first commander Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy.

The proposal was in response to an appeal from the SETI Institute, asking the public to help name the two moons they discovered, which are currently called P4 and P5.

Trekkies jumped on the bandwagon, casting 174,000 votes for Vulcan. Second-place went to Cerberus, with just under 100,000 votes. 

The new discoveries accompany Pluto's three other known moons: Charon, Nix and Hydra.

Officials say it could take up to 2 months for the final names of P4 and P5 to be selected and approved. 

For those not familiar with Star Trek vernacular, the term "Vulcan" also has roots in Roman mythology: Vulcanus is the god of fire and volcanoes.


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