Pluto, perennial pipsqueak of the planets, could be reinstated by the International Astronomical Union to full planet status–as some NASA scientists are proposing.
Pluto was called a planet from 1930 to 2006… Pluto’s demotion angered some scientists who are still fighting for Pluto to be reinstated as a planet, including Alan Stern, the lead scientist with NASA’s New Horizon’s mission to Pluto.
Stern recently submitted a proposal to the International Astronomical Union to make Pluto a full-fledged planet.
In the mind of the public, the word ‘planet’ carries a significance lacking in other words used to describe planetary bodies, according to the proposal. In the decades following the supposed ‘demotion’ of Pluto by the International Astronomical Union, many members of the public, in our experience, assume that alleged ‘non-planets’ cease to be interesting enough to warrant scientific exploration.
A planet is a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion and that has sufficient self-gravitation to assume a spheroidal shape adequately described by a triaxial ellipsoid regardless of its orbital parameters, the proposal continued.
Who besides the IAU cares whether or not Pluto is smaller than earth’s moon? It meets all other criteria necessary for planet hood. Vote it in–make it happen. Now, that’s a cause we can all get behind!
–Science & Health, http://www.voanews.com/–