The name Vulcan topped the 21 names submitted in an online poll for suggestions on what to call Pluto's fourth moon. Vulcan got more than 174,000 votes out of the over 450,000 votes cast. The poll ended Feb 25.
However, the California-based SETI Institute, which organised the online survey in the Web site Pluto Rocks, is not committed to pick the name based on the poll results alone.
Vulcan was suggested by actor William Shatner who played the role of James Kirk in the hit TV series Star Trek. Vulcan was the name of the race of brainiacs in the sci-fi.
Vulcan probably got the highest number of votes because of tweets from Mr Shatner asking for his followers to favour the name, and Mr Spock himself or actor Leonard Nimoy, also backing the name Vulcan as the logical choice.
On second place with almost 100,00 votes is Cerberus, which would likely be used to replace the P4 and P5 tags on Pluto's smallest moons. The name change, however, must be approved by the International Astronomical Union. The approval process could take up to two months.
The creators of the poll sought names from Greek and Roman mythology, and Vulcan fits because he is the Roman god of fire and smoke and is aptly the nephew of the god Pluto.
The two new moons, which are about 15 to 20 miles wide, were discovered in 2011 and 2012. They add to Pluto's three discovered moons named Charon, Nix and Hydra.
Charon, discovered in 1978, is the ferryman of the Greek and Roman underworld who guides the dead as they cross the rivers Styx and Acheron. Nix, discovered in 2005, is Charon's mother, and Hydra, also discovered in 2005, is a two-headed serpentine who guards the gate to Hades in Lerna, a mystical lake.
There is actually another planet or planetoid that uses the name Vulcan. It was once thought to circle the Sun inside the orbit of Mercury, according to the Los Angeles Times.
One reason the name Vulcan, despite topping the poll, would possibly not be used is that another planet is already the first user of the name.