Scientists have named an asteroid in honor of my friend and fellow Enterprise navigator dude, George Takei!
An asteroid between Mars and Jupiter has been renamed 7307 Takei in honor of the actor, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the original "Star Trek" series and movies.
The celestial rock, discovered by two Japanese astronomers in 1994, was formerly known as 1994 GT9. It joins the 4659 Roddenberry (named for the show's creator, Gene Roddenberry) and the 68410 Nichols (for co-star Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura). Other main-belt asteroids have been named for science fiction luminaries Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.
Just so nobody thinks this is one of those scams where you give some shady guy in an alley a double sawbuck and you get a sixth generation photocopy certificate in return:
The renaming of 7307 Takei was approved by the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature. About 14,000 asteroid names have been approved by the panel, while about 165,000 asteroids have been identified and numbered, union spokesman Lars Lindberg Christensen said.
Unlike the myriad Web sites that offer to sell naming rights to stars, the IAU committee-approved names are actually used by astronomers, said Tom Burbine, the Mount Holyoke College astronomy professor who proposed the name swap.
"This is the name that will be used for all eternity," he said.
That's so totally awesome. If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting George, you know that he's one of the kindest and most joyful people in the universe, and I know this actually means something to him. I can just hear him saying, "Oh my!" When he got the news.