Following an online survey organized by the SETI institute in California, over 170,000 votes sided with William Shatner’s suggestion to name Pluto’s newly discovered moon “Vulcan” beating out 100,000 votes for “Cerberus” and getting almost 40% of the 450,000 votes.
In Greek mythology, Vulcan is the God of lava and smoke, son of Pluto which makes it an obvious name for one of its moons… or a Pug puppy as it huffs and puffs lava and smoke.
Less obvious from a scientific point of view is that the name Vulcan also depicts the planet from which Mr.Spock and his fellow Vulcans come from, in the science-fiction Star Trek universe.
The International Astronomical Union has the final say, and it could be another few months until a conclusive name is determined.
Another issue is that ‘Stray asteroids that are in a near Sun orbit are called Vulcanoids and thereby could cause some confusion when grade students first learn the solar system’, says the leader of the teams that discovered the mini-moons, Mark Showalter, he is leaning toward the popular vote also stating that Cerberus would be problematic too, since there already is an asteroid named that.
Showalter thinks that perhaps its Greek version Kerberos might work, but I disagree. I like the name George for this new-found moon.