Star Trek fans seem to be making their voice heard in a contest to name one of Pluto's recently discovered moons.
A few days ago, the SETI Institute launched an online poll to find names for P4 and P5, two tiny moons found orbiting Pluto thanks to Hubble Space Telescope images taken of the area in the last two years. Naturally, SETI wanted mythology-inspired monikers for the satellites, to go with the names of pretty much everything else in our solar system, so they're only letting us vote on a list of pre-approved candidates (sorry, Whovians, no chance of getting Gallifrey on the list). William Shatner, never missing a chance to evangelize for the franchise that made him a star, suggested that SETI add two Trek planet names, Vulcan and Romulus, to the list. Romulus is already in use (along with Remus) as the name of one of asteroid 87 Silvia's moons, but SETI was happy to add Vulcan, and a few days into voting it's become the frontrunner.
As of this morning, Feb. 21, about 347,000 votes had been cast, and in a field of 21 candidates that includes names like Hercules, Orpheus, Styx, Sisyphus, Persephone and Cerberus, Vulcan has garnered more than 120,000 votes. That's a pretty dominant showing, and though some of those votes might be from people who are big fans of the Roman God of Fire, we're betting that Trekkies have a lot to do with it.
Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that one of the two moons will actually be named Vulcan. The names that garner the most votes will be presented by SETI to the International Astronomical Union, but they will have the final word. Still, we don't need to tell you how convincing thousands of Trekkies on the Internet can be.
If you'd like to add your voice to the SETI poll, you can continue to cast votes once per day until noon EST on Monday, Feb. 25. Just head to the Pluto Rocks! site right here and vote. By the way, in case you were wondering, the current second-place candidate is Cerberus, followed closely by Styx.