The asteroid's name does not come directly from the character of Mr. Spock in Star Trek, but rather indirectly from the discoverer's male cat who was named after the science fiction character. Like his namesake, the feline Mr. Spock was, according to Gibson, "imperturbable, logical, intelligent, and had pointed ears". The cat had accompanied Gibson on astronomical observations carried out in the United States, Africa, and South America. The naming created an uproar, and the International Astronomical Union subsequently decided that pet animal names were to be discouraged. A number of other asteroids have since been named after Star Trek characters, as well as after musicians and other figures in pop culture.