One of Pluto's moons may be named Vulcan; Spock nowhere to be found

NASA
Pluto and its moons.

In a turn of events that has science bloggers everywhere looking for ways to cram every possible Spock reference into their stories, the fine folks at SETI announced that Vulcan was the winning choice in a poll to name two tiny, recently discovered moons of Pluto.

The name would be applied to one of two space rocks orbiting Pluto that are currently known as P4 and P5. NASA scientists discovered P4 in 2011, and estimate that it measures between 8 and 21 miles across. P5, discovered in 2012, may be even smaller, measuring between 6 and 15 miles in diameter. These tiny moons join Charon, Hydra, and Nix as the five natural satellites of everyone's favorite animated dog not-quite-a-planet.

Vulcan was the overwhelming winner in SETI's poll to choose names for Pluto's as-yet unnamed moons, getting nearly 175,000 votes out of a total 450,000 ballots. The runner-up, Cerberus, garnered a little under 100,000 votes.

What next? The official naming process. According the SETI, it'll take a month or two for the IAU to officially select and approve the names for P4 and P5, so we'll have to be patient. In the meantime, we can only hope that the astronomy community realizes that Vulcan is what the people want!

Oh, and feel free to come up with your own Star Trek references in the comments.

[SETI, BBC via Laughing Squid]

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