A day after Internet users were asked to help name the fourth and fifth moons of Pluto, one of William Shatner‘s two suggestions has been added to the list of twelve put forth by the discoverers of those two moons.
The two tiny moons, only fifteen to twenty miles across each, were discovered in 2011 and 2012 and carry the labels P4 and P5.
Originally, twelve potential names were offered to the public, and the names suggested were those of Greek or Roman mythological figures “with a connection to the underground.” The names are: Acheron, Alecto, Cerberus, Erebus, Eurydice, Heracles, Hypnos, Lethe, Obol, Orpheus, Persephone and Styx.
But Shatner had an idea. “So what do you think of the idea of naming the two moons of Pluto ‘Vulcan’ and “Romulus?'” he asked his Twitter readers. “You have mythology, pos and neg.”
The leader of one of the discovery teams, Mark Showalter, loved the idea, although one of the suggestions had to be ruled out. “We have made our first addition to the ballot,” he said. “Vulcan is the Roman god of lava and smoke, and the nephew of Pluto. (Any connection to the Star Trek TV series is purely coincidental, although we can be sure that Gene Roddenberry read the classics.) Thanks to William Shatner for the suggestion!
“Mr. Shatner’s second suggestion, Romulus, has a bit of a problem because it is already the name of a moon. Romulus, along with his brother Remus, are the names of the moons of the asteroid 87 Silvia. They were discovered by a team led by my good colleague Franck Marchis, now a senior scientist at the SETI Institute.”
To vote for the new names of P4 and P5, head to the link located here.