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Sorry Trekkies, Pluto’s Moons Are Now Called Kerberos And Styx

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nasa plutoBack in February, the International Astronomical Union decided to flex its social media muscles by creating Pluto Rocks, which allowed the naming of Pluto’s two most recently discovered moons, previously called “P4” and “P5,” to fall into the hands of voters. And the people have spoken! Well, about 500,000 of us. Not exactly the number of voters that something like The Voice gets on a weekly basis, but it’s not bad for a science-sanctioned poll. That said, I bet more people would have voted had “Adam Levine” been a choice. Sigh.

Voters had 12 names to choose from, all of which were related to Pluto’s mythological role as the Greek god of the underworld. Where they made their mistake was in allowing a write-in vote. Whereas contests in other areas may have yielded prank results, voters were very serious in following William Shatner’s beck and call to get Vulcan to win the vote. 170,000 people or so voted for it, making it a shoe-in, as three-headed demon dog Cerberus was in second-place with almost 100,000 votes. But in a movie that was very “wishy washy government style” for an international union, neither of those names actually made it.

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Vulcan Ale Is The Logical Beverage For Any Occasion

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Vulcan AleDid you guys notice that Star Trek Into Darkness hit theaters last week? Have we been covering it here at all? You’d think I’d remember, but my memory has been kind of blinky recently. The blame can probably be put on all this beer I’ve been drinking. All this dull, generic, non-sci-fi beer.

Luckily, Canadian beer distributors Delancey Direct are working with Montreal’s Harvest Moon Brewing Company here to solve all of our officially licensed beer problems. They’re teaming up with CBS Studios to bring a variety of Star Trek brews to fans and imbibers alike. First up will be the “mind-melding good” Vulcan Ale, a 5.4 percent ABV Irish Red ale, much like what Smithwick’s or Killean’s is known for. In fact, it was the centennial celebration of province town Vulcan, Alberta that inspired the companies to create the boozy tie-in. Incidentally, Vulcan is slowly becoming the Trek-themed town that you should already be visiting.

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Pluto’s Unnamed Moon May Indeed Become Vulcan

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Vulcan

The people have spoken! And by “people,” I mean “William Shatner’s people.” Last week we told you about how the SETI Institute was allowing the public to vote on the official names for two of Pluto’s recently discovered, so-far-unnamed moons. As often happens whenever someone posts a poll online, a group of fans decided to team up to try and overwhelm the vote for their option of choice. In this case, William Shatner used Twitter to call upon his legions, suggesting they write in “Vulcan.” And while Vulcan wasn’t an official option on the list, it should surprise no one that it handily took first place in the voting, with 174,062 votes.

In spite of the sizable lead for Vulcan, it’s unclear at this point if one of Pluto’s moons will actually be saddled with the name of Spock’s homeworld. As we mentioned in our original story, the name still has to be approved by the International Astronomical Union, and Vulcan could theoretically be disqualified for not following the rules. The IAU’s naming conventions for moons of Pluto is that “those that share Pluto’s orbital rhythm take the name of underworld deities.” Hence the official suggestions included names like Orpheus, Styx, and the one that came in second, Cerberus. Hopefully Vulcan won’t be disqualified on a technicality, but you never know.

It could take between one and two months before the IAU officially declares whether Pluto’s P4 and P5 will become Vulcan and Cerberus. Hopefully they’ll have a sense of humor about the whole thing and let the departure from protocol pass. Just do us all a favor and don’t bring any Red Matter anywhere near the place.

So what does everyone’s favorite Vulcan think of the possibility of a new Vulcan in our neck of the woods? Actor Leonard Nimoy says, “If my people were emotional they would say they are pleased.”