Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's Offical - Pluto No Longer A Planet

Scientists gathered in Prague today have decided that Pluto is not qualified to be referred to anymore as a Planet, but they haven't evicted it from the neighborhood just yet. They have re-classified it a "dwarf planet" along with a few other celestial objects.

Truly, this comes as no big surprise. Some of us with better memories than mine may remember that Pluto is smaller than our own Moon and shares an orbit (for awhile) with Neptune. This was, unfortunately, inevitable. Our solar system's been slumming long enough.

Pluto was always missing something. It is no massive monstrosity like Jupiter or beautiful like Saturn or enigmatic like Neptune or quirky like Uranus. It doesn't share the same playing field as the "Lower 4": quiet Mercury, mysterious Venus, passionate Mars, or our own little blue and green ball of dirt.

Some people are against the decision. We've all come to know and love the distant cousin of the family solar and we're reluctant to let go. Earlier in the week, Tim Kreider, a cartoonist, wrote a hilarious op-ed for the NY Times in which he writes,

What I really wish is that we’d just grandfather Pluto in and then close all the loopholes. Let’s do it, not for scientific reasons, but for sentimental ones.

As a friend of mine at NASA said, “It would prove our humanity to let Pluto stay in.” It would be like that moment when the doorman is about to escort you out of a private party where you don’t, arguably, belong, but then someone who knows you taps him on the shoulder and says, “Wait a minute, I know this guy. He’s O.K.”


Blogger Shawn said...

aww poor pluto.

August 24, 2006 1:53 PM  

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