“Vulcan” is currently winning in a contest to name Pluto’s moons. The name was nominated by actor William Shatner, and is currently leading by over 30,000 votes.
The contest includes 20 proposed names for the moons which are currently labeled as P4 and P4. “Vulcan” has received over 150,000 votes. “Cerberus” is in second place with just under 150,000 votes, and “Styx” is currently in third place with around 90,000 votes.
As stated on plutorocks.com, Vulcan is “the Roman God of fire and smoke.” The 20 other proposed names are all related to Greek and Roman mythology, particularly relating to myths about the Underworld.
“Pluto” is the Roman variant of Hades, who rules the mythological Underworld. The Underworld is, according to legend, where souls remain after death. Clyde Tombaugh discovered the former planet in 1930. Pluto was reportedly so named at the suggestion of Venetia Burney, a young girl from Oxford, England.
James Christy discovered Pluto’s first moon “Charon” in 1978. In 2005, the moons “Nix” and “Hydra” were discovered by Hal Weaver and Alan Stern. The newest and smallest discovered moons, P4 and P5, were recognized in 2011.
Star Trek fans will be pleased to see that “Vulcan” is winning the contest. Besides being a Roman God, Vulcan is the name of a planet and “humanoid” race in the popular Star Trek series. As described on startrek.com, Vulcans have a distinct appearance and personality:
” … with copper-based blood, slightly green-tinted complexion and notably pointed ears … Vulcans have developed a culture dedicated to the complete mastery of logic, learning to suppress their once-violent emotions in nearly every aspect of their existence.”
Whether due to mythology buffs, or fans of Star Trek, “Vulcan” is currently winning the contest to name Pluto’s moons. Interested? Vote here. The contest ends at noon EST.
[Image via deviantART]