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Sci-Fi Space Science

Trekkies Vote 'Vulcan' Into the Solar System 138

New submitter jollyrgr3 writes "If William Shatner gets his wish, one of Pluto's two new moons will be named Vulcan. The two small moons were discovered recently, and the SETI Institute launched an online poll to let people choose names. Captain Kirk himself suggested the names Vulcan and Romulus. Vulcan was accepted as a candidate, and Shatner exhorted his Twitter followers to vote. Vulcan ended up winning by a landslide, taking 174,000 of the 450,000 total responses. The next highest was Cerberus at just shy of 100,000. The names still have to be approved by the International Astronomical Union, as they have the final say. Leonard Nimoy approves."
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Trekkies Vote 'Vulcan' Into the Solar System

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  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:31PM (#43018549)

    I'm starting a NEW poll for Wookie and Ewok.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think you mistyped Kashyyyk and Endor.

    • Re:FU Trekkie geeks (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:40PM (#43018627)

      Don't you mean Kashyyyk and Endor?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ewok is never said once in any star wars movie. It's not canon.

      • Well it sure as shit said Ewok on my Star Wars action figure.
      • Technically "Wankerhead" isn't a canon species name, either.

      • You're right that the word is never said, but that's irrelevent. The word appears in the original ROTJ credits at least twice, in the script and in the novelisation, in both Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor, and is also Word of God [].

        From the relevant Wikipedia page []:

        G-canon is absolute canon; the movies (their most recent release), the scripts, the novelizations of the movies, the radio plays, and any statements by George Lucas himself. G-canon overrides the lower levels of canon when there is a c

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wouldn't it be better to try to get the entire Pluto mess renamed "Alderaan"?

    • Re:FU Trekkie geeks (Score:4, Informative)

      by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:06PM (#43018905) Homepage Journal

      Wookie and Ewok are not in Greek or Roman mythology and do not qualify under the rules, while Vulcan does.

      • by rokstar ( 865523 )
        Traditionally its Roman for the planet name and Greek for the moons (Mars w/ Phobos and Deimos for example), so it should really be Hephaestus. The "rules" are some what flexible since Makemake and Haumea are neither Roman nor Greek.
        • Pluto, Makemake, and Haumea are now officially designated "Plutoids" ... I think the rule there is to name them after various gods of creation. Pluto is, of course, an exception due to history.

          Moons in general have various naming schemes. Take Uranus, for example, where many moons are named after characters from Shakespeare's plays, of all things.

          The moons of Pluto have so far been named after things associated with Pluto. I know of nothing that associates Vulcan with Pluto, however, other than his conne

          • by rokstar ( 865523 )
            I didn't realize there was a rule associated with dwarf planets naming. And like I said the moon names were only traditionally Greek to their Roman counterparts. Uranus is the biggest exception to that tradition but the others largely follow it including Pluto. All that being said, I agree that its a pretty long stretch to get from Vulcan to Pluto. There are plenty of other Greek names one could use. Nerdom aside Cerberus should have won, or Persephone or Lethe for that matter (though it would likely be
            • I agree that its a pretty long stretch to get from Vulcan to Pluto.

              Not what I'd call a long stretch, genealogically. Vulcan / Vulkan / Hephaestus is a son of Zeus/ Jupiter, who is brother of Pluto / Hades ; therefore the relationship is a nephew-uncle one. Vulcan is more associated with volcanoes ("D'oh") than the undeworld specifically, but given that his workshop is traditionally under (whichever volcano is erupting at the moment), he's definitely a chthonic deity.

              I'm not a great fan of Trekkie-dom mysel

    • by gmuslera ( 3436 )
      Would be a trap to propose Death Star. That's no moon.
    • Wouldn't Hoth have been a better choice anyway? Vulcan was hot.
    • If there's anything more pathetic than a Star Wars fanboy criticising Star Trek fanboys for being too geeky, I've yet to meet it.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:33PM (#43018571) []

    Vulcan was the name of the hypothetical planet between Mercury and the Sun.

  • Especially something that is going to crash and burn in a horrible way in the near future?

  • Hrm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jarnin ( 925269 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:40PM (#43018631)
    While I'm a huge fan of Star Trek and Astronomy in general, I don't think a moon of Pluto should be called Vulcan. Why? The name "Vulcan" is from Roman mythology, and is the name of the Roman god of fire and volcanos. Last I checked, Pluto and it's moons were too far away from the Sun to have any connection to fire and volcanos. In other words, Pluto's moons are too far outside of the system to make the name "Vulcan" appropriate. I hope the IAU has the sense to name this moon after something that fits contextually.

    Now if they'd discovered that Mercury had a moon, Vulcan would be the obvious choice!
    • by Anonymous Coward


    • I hope the IAU has the sense to name this moon after something that fits contextually.

      You mean like gods or attendants associated with the underworld? Like Pluto? God of the underworld. Or Charon? Ferryman. Or Nix? Mother of Charon. Or Hydra? Okay, Hydra's a bit obscure. Apparently Hydra's lair was an entrance to the underworld used by Hercules.

      Vulcan and Pluto are related (I mean biologically, as well as thematically. Or whatever deities have instead of biology.)

    • When I think of Vulcans, I think cold and distant.

      So perhaps it works for a moon of Pluto after all.

    • Last I checked, Pluto and it's moons were too far away from the Sun to have any connection to fire and volcano(e)s.

      The first planet in towards the Sun from Pluto (dodging the is it/ isn't it planet status debate) has a satellite with active volcanism.

      OK, the working fluid is liquid nitrogen IIRC, but it's still active volcanoes, closer to Pluto than to Earth (sometimes).

      Without doing the sums ... but wearing my "I'm a professional geologist speaking in my field" tee-shirt ... there's a good chance that th

  • by ozduo ( 2043408 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:46PM (#43018681)
    so please call one "G spot"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's a shame really that all those Trekkies are jumping on this bandwagon.

    Just think how silly they'll feel when we start voting on names for exoplanets and the name Vulan is already in use.

  • by Sparticus789 ( 2625955 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:47PM (#43018703) Journal

    One does not simply vote Vulcan into our solar system. It is 16 light years away.

  • Men become gods (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mandrel ( 765308 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:47PM (#43018705)
    I voted for Orpheus and Eurydice. I thought it fitting that probably the last two decent-sized objects in the planetary part of the solar system be named after a man and his god-wife to symbolize humanity's progress.
  • Mythology notwithstanding, even in the Star Trek universe Vulcan is a hot desert planet. Not a cold, dead moon.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      In the Star Trek universe, Vulcan doesn't exist anymore.

  • by Cpt_Kirks ( 37296 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:49PM (#43018741)

    Make it so.

  • 174,000/450,000 is not a landslide. []
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sure it was. You forget the vote was in America. The Electoral College vote for the naming process was 452 to 112.

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      it is when the next runner up only had half as many votes at only 87.8k.

      "Vulcan was the only candidate with more than 100,000 votes."
      "Rounding out the top five were Styx (87,858 votes), Persephone (68,969 votes) and Orpheus (51,197 votes)."

      Hmm. Maybe you shoulda RTFA, eh?

  • by Roman Coder ( 413112 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:07PM (#43018909)

    In keeping with the new Star Trek movies, they should be called "Lens" and "Flare".

  • And Pluto orbits William Shatner.

    • by Longjmp ( 632577 )
      Considered Shatner's current mass, pretty much everything will orbit him ;-)

      (ok, I admit I haven't seen any recent pictures)
    • And Pluto orbits William Shatner.

      And Shatner orbits Uranus.

  • by mister2au ( 1707664 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:38PM (#43019259)

    We will take into consideration the results of the voting, but they are not binding. The discovery team, in consultation with the Nomenclature Working Groups of the International Astronomical Union, reserves the right to propose the names. Note that the International Astronomical Union has final authority over the naming of Pluto's moons.

    IAU has the final say and would be likely to reject this name I would think for scientific consistency with their previous naming conventions.

    And the discovers are not even saying they will propose this name to IAU - just that they will consider the voting.

    So dont hold your breath !

  • That way, if any Vulcans or Romulans from an alternate dimension do wind up here, seeking "James Kirk" or "Spock", we can point at the visitors from the /finger quotes "Alternate dimension" /close finger quotes and mock and say, those barren cold moons of Pluto?? No frickin way!

  • Save the name Vulcan for a desert exoplanet. The Legion of Space, classic space opera by Jack Williamson, mentions a moon of Pluto named Cerberus. It's the only correct choice.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Save the name Vulcan for a desert exoplanet.

      A desert exoplanet will be properly named Arrakis, you insensitive clod.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You misspelt Tatooine, you nerf herder.

  • Everyone who knows anything knows Vulcan orbits 40 Eridani A.

    We just haven't found it, yet.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:52PM (#43020375) Homepage Journal

    These are the same idiots that did a write in campaign to have the first shuttle names Enterprise..even though it would never fly into orbit.

    Oh look, it a references to a TV show I enjoy, we must mindlessly vote for it even though it is only a moon and nothing like the planet in my TV show.

    Disgusting. If it was an extra solar planet? that would have been fine.

    I say this and I am a Trekkie...just not a mindless one.

  • My money is on 2nd and 3rd choices:

    Styx - a river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld
    Kerberos - a multi-headed hound which guards the gates of the Underworld, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping

    These form a nice pair and are themed on the transition from Earth to another world (the underworld) ...

    Pluto is very much a transition from our planetary system to interstellar space (or at least the Oort cloud)

    Astronomers do see still the roma

    • I like your reasoning, and I'm sure such considerations will weigh with the discoverers (who get to propose the name) and the IAU (who approve or disapprove the proposed name).

      I can't say that I'm excited by "Vulcan" as a name for this satellite, but at least the forms of etymology have been followed.

      IIRC, these are neither the inner-most (known) satellites of Pluto, nor the outermost. Which makes naming them awkward. As the guardian of the (earthly) entrance to the underworld, Kerberos should be at the v

  • Naming some really cold moons of a planetoid after a widely-known fictional hot inhabited planet seems like a recipe for confusion.

  • I wasn't too keen on the idea either, until Leonard Nimoy approved. After all, he was the prototype Vulcan, and with his new career in erotic photography, he's quite well qualified to be naming moons...

  • Clearly the only choice is to name the larger moon "Colbert."
    Since some trekkie will think that naming the other one "Stewart" means Jean-Luc, maybe name it Tosh.0 instead.

  • According to the dictionary a moon is: A natural satellite revolving around a planet. So how can Pluto have moons if it's not a planet anymore? Is there a more scientific definition of a moon, because I think we're just naming an asteroid at this point.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.