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William Shatner Pushes for Vulcan as a Name for One of Pluto's Moons

The Studio City resident is using his celebrity to influence science.

Longtime Studio City resident William Shatner, known as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek movies and TV shows, is boldly going where no actor has gone before and is bucking for his personal preference to name two moons.

Shatner was fascinated about the two rocks recently found around Pluto and Tweeted a personal interest in having Trekker names "Vulcan" and "Romulus" as names for the two moons, but only Vulcan made the first cut. Shatner wrote on his Twitter:

So what do you think of the idea of naming the two moons of Pluto Vulcan and Romulus? You have mythology, pos and neg

The SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is holding a contest to name P4 and P5 that is rotating around the most distant planet in the solar system, and will send the winners to the International Astronomical Union.

Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute who was part of the discovery team, was contacted by Shatner about his ideas. He wrote: 

We have made our first addition to the ballot. 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.

At the moment, with nearly 200,000 votes cast, Vulcan is in third place with more than 45,000 votes.

When the Star Trek name was in fifth place, Shatner encouraged his more than 1,333,000 Twitter followers to vote more:

  • William Shatner ‏@WilliamShatner

    Vote for Vulcan! http://www.plutorocks.com/ 

  • William Shatner ‏@WilliamShatner

    We appear to be tied for third in the Pluto moon name voting!

  • Click here (www.plutorocks.com/current-tally) for the tally, and instructions on how to vote yourself.

    Shatner said he is appearing on The Craig Ferguson's Late, Late Show on Feb. 21 and The Talk on Friday (taped at the CBS Radford lot) for his latest movie Escape From Planet Earth, an animated film in which he is a voice. The movie opens Friday and includes the voices of Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Ricky Gervais and Sofia Vergara.

    The Captain of the Enterprise is also inviting out director J.J. Abrams to sushi in Studio City to discuss the future of the Star Trek franchises. The Abrams film Star Trek Into Darkness hits theaters in May. Abrams also was recently assigned to do a new Star Wars movie. Shatner said the director is "being a pig."

    Shatner Tweeted:

    So you heard what I said about JJ? He needs to call me so I can advise him on how to handle the franchises. I'm offering sushi, JJ...! ;-)

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