Sci-Tech

Asteroid named after Star Trek's Wil Wheaton: Engage!

An asteroid going boldly through the universe now carries a new name that honors actor Will Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Step outside after dark. Look toward the constellation Canis Minor. There's an asteroid zipping along out there called 391257 Wilwheaton. Wil Wheaton is the actor who brought Ensign Wesley Crusher to life on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

The announcement showed up on Twitter Wednesday from NASA's Ron Baalke, who describes himself as a "space explorer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory."

Wheaton is in good company with other Star Trek alumni. Asteroid 7307 Takei is named for Sulu actor George Takei and 68410 Nichols gets its name from Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura. There's also asteroid 4659 Roddenberry for Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Wheaton acknowledged the honor on his blog on Wednesday, writing, "As soon as it gets dark here, I'm going to walk out into my backyard, look up into the sky, just a little above Sirius, and know that, even though I can't see it with my naked eye, it's out there, and it's named after me."

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