Space – Some blame a ‘Q’-like, omnipotent being lurking at NASA’s Area 51, Roswell HQ for blocking the naming of newly discovered moons of the tiny, far-flung planet Pluto after Star Trek characters’ home worlds.
The move has been dubbed bizarre and illogical by members of the International Astronomy Society who voted for Vulcan, Q’onoS and Romulus – respectively the home planets of Mr Spock, the Klingons and their evil cousins the Romulans – to be the new lunar monikers.
Instead the Society has decided the five Pluto satellites will be given grandiose mythical titles after settling on Nix, Styx, Hydra, Charon and Kerberos – despite recently relegating Pluto from the status of ‘planet’ to that of dwarf.
“Hell, it could have been worse,” a QM-NewsCorpse astronomy stringer commented, “they could have stuck them with Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey to reflect Pluto’s new dwarfism.”
Other popular suggestions reflected Pluto’s mythological nature as Lord of the Underworld with support for naming its moons after notorious gangland mobsters such as members of the Tattaglia Family, mafiosi hitmen in the Godfather Trilogy.
Next year an official naming ceremony will take place in outer space when the nuclear-powered Cassini probe enters Pluto’s orbit and begins a few laps of honor around the biggest lunar satellite Hydra.
NASA is hoping that data relayed from the long distance probe will finally confirm if the moons are rich in oil, gas and diamonds, as predicted by the Agency’s Roswell geeks.
Catch sight of all five of Pluto’s moons by training a telescope at the northern sky and following Comet Halle-Bopp’s trajectory towards the bright star Aldebaran.
Should be unmissable on a clear night.