William Shatner. Photo Getty
"Star Trek" star William Shatner and tens of thousands of
the show's fans are leading a charge to name one of Pluto's
newly discovered moons after the character Spock's home planet.
Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk on the Starship
Enterprise on the programme launched in 1966, proposed the
name earlier this month in response to an appeal from
scientists for help in choosing the names of two newly
discovered Pluto moons.
Vulcan is among 21 names in the running in an online poll
organized by the California-based SETI Institute, whose team
of astronomers discovered the moons.
As of Wednesday, Vulcan was the clear front runner, receiving
more than 100,000 out of more than 330,000 votes cast.
Shatner, who starred along with Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed
the Vulcan science officer Spock on the long-running TV
sci-fi show, rallied support for Vulcan on Wednesday on his
Twitter account, writing: "We are approaching 120K votes for
Vulcan on PlutoRocks.com! Have you voted today?"
Until now, the two moons, each of which are about 20-30km
wide, have been known as P4 and P5. The P4 moon was
discovered in 2011 and P5 a year later.
Before the discoveries, astronomers had identified and named
three of Pluto's moons - Charon, Nix and Hydra.
Voting for the names of the new moons ends on February 25.
The selected names will be submitted to the International
Astronomical Union (IAU) for consideration.
"Let's hope the IAU thinks Vulcan is a good name," Shatner
said in another tweet.