Saturday, July 13, 2013

Star Trek and Star Wars in the news

Both major science fiction franchises were in the news this past week as the government acknowledged their importance.*  First, Star Trek received a consolation prize from NASA, as Mike Wall of reported in 'Star Trek' on Pluto? It Could Really Happen, Scientists Say.
While the naming gods have swatted away an attempt to christen one of Pluto's newfound moons "Vulcan," the "Star Trek" universe may still leave its mark on the dwarf planet soon enough.

After NASA's New Horizons spacecraft gets the first up-close views of Pluto in 2015, craters, mountains and other features spotted on the dwarf planet's surface could bear the names of famous "Star Trek" characters, researchers said.

"We might have craters called Sulu and Spock and Kirk and McCoy and so on," Mark Showalter of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, Calif., said during a Google+ Hangout today (July 2).
So the IAU ruled against calling one of Pluto's moons Vulcan.  Miriam Kramer of describes what they will be called in 2 Pluto Moons Get New Names (Sorry 'Star Trek' Fans).
It's official! Two tiny moons orbiting the dwarf planet Pluto finally have new names: Styx and Kerberos.

The International Astronomical Union — the organization responsible for naming celestial objects — has approved "Kerberos" and "Styx" as the new monikers for two of Pluto's moons that were previously called P4 and P5 respectively, but fans of TV's "Star Trek" might not be too happy about the new names.

The IAU selected the names based on the results of the Pluto Rocks Internet poll sponsored by SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), but the top vote-getter, Vulcan, ultimately wasn't chosen as a name for one of the tiny moons.
Next, Star Wars creator George Lucas got a presidential recognition, which Roberta Rampton of Reuters used as part of her headline and lede in Honoring opera to 'Star Wars,' Obama awards arts medals to 24.
(Reuters) - Citing the power of artists and academics to open minds, President Barack Obama on Wednesday awarded 24 medals to people including "Star Wars" creator George Lucas and writer Joan Didion who he said touched his life and the lives of Americans.

"They challenge us to think and to question and to discover, to seek that inward significance," Obama said, awarding the winners of the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

This year's winners included filmmaker George Lucas, creator of "Star Wars," whom Obama applauded for transforming movies.

"I remember when I first saw 'Star Wars,'" Obama said. "There's a whole generation that thinks special effects always look like they do today. But it used to be you'd see, like, the string on the little model spaceships.
I bet that got a good laugh.

*Yes, that's the connection.  It beats J.J. Abrams.

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