Pluto’s tiny moons get names, then renamed

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plutoMOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – The votes have been tallied for the online contest to name Pluto’s two new moons and the results, would make a Vulcan cry.

Nearly half a million votes were cast in the SETI poll to name P4 and P5. Thanks to a tweet by William Shatner, the top vote getters were Vulcan (Spock’s home planet) and Cerberus (the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to the underworld).

Mr. Spock might say, “Live long and prosper” but that’s not going to happen. Faster than you can say Vulcan death grip, the International Astronomical Union beamed out Vulcan and replaced it with Styx (the mythological river separating the Earth from the underworld).

Some might say “A most illogical reaction” but the IAU’s logic is all about mythology.

Pluto’s other moons: Charon, Hydra and Nix all have names based in mythology. Although Vulcan is also the Roman god of volcanoes; it doesn’t fit the underworld theme. The IAU also changed Cerberus to the Greek version Kerberos; so it wouldn’t be confused with a similarly named asteroid.

We can all rest easier now that Pluto’s rocks have been named.

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