To be considered, the potential names for the two mini-moons also had to come from Greek or Roman mythology, and deal with the underworld. Twenty-one choices were available at the website http://www.plutorocks.com when voting ended Monday. Of those, nine were write-in candidates suggested by the public, including Shatner’s entry for Vulcan.
Shatner’s second choice for a name, Romulus, did not make the cut. That’s because an asteroid already has a moon by that name _ along with a moon named Remus.
And forget the Disney connection.
“We love Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, too,” Showalter informed voters a few days into the voting. “However, these are not valid names for astronomical objects. Sorry.”
Altogether, 30,000 write-in candidate names poured in.
Showalter said he will keep the list handy as more moons undoubtedly pop up around Pluto once NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft arrives in 2015. It will be the first robotic flyby ever of the planetoid, or dwarf planet near the outer fringes of the solar system.
Pluto-naming contest: http://www.plutorocks.com/
Johns Hopkins University: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php