Xena and Gabrielle long lived in an aura of mystery, often baffling those who dealt with them. (Not least the legions of fans wondering if the two of them were more than just friends.) The same is true of two distant objects in the solar system, nicknamed—you guessed it—Xena and Gabrielle. Scientists recently confirmed that the larger one, UB313 (aka “Xena”) is bigger than Pluto, adding fuel to the controversy among astronomers over what really constitutes a planet. Should Xena and its moon, Gabrielle, count as a tenth planet beyond the historical nine? If not, should Pluto be demoted?
The only downside to declaring Xena and Gabrielle a full planetary system is that they would then be given new monikers, names of gods from Greek classical mythology. If we can’t have Xena, my vote is for “Athena,” the goddess of wisdom, crafts, strategy, and war. That’s at least close. For the moon, the obvious choice is then “Nike,” goddess of victory and Athena’s constant companion. She was often depicted carrying a staff, like Gabrielle.