Can you believe that, 10 years ago, Pluto stopped being a planet? Well, a planet planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) made it a dwarf planet, along with Ceres (OPA, represent!), Makemake and Eris. Yes, it’s been a decade since the only time Neil deGrasse Tyson disappointed anyone who isn’t a creationist. Everyone above a certain age beat their breasts and tore at their clothes because My Very Energetic Mother no longer Just Served Us any Pizzas, much less Nine of them.
But, the world, solar system, our universe and even the rest of us moved on. Except for some NASA scientists who allege that Pluto’s demotion has reduced interest and possibly even funding into projects like New Horizons to explore it. So, they’re proposing yet another definition for planets: any self-gravitational spheroid object that’s never undergone nuclear fusion. Or, round, but not a star.
Seems good enough, right? Let’s #MakePlutoGreatAgain!
Except … that means that we won’t have just nine planets again. The new definition will encompass moons, asteroids, balls of ice past Pluto and possibly even comets as planets. Oh, the things we’ll have to make our mothers do to memorize that list!
If these scientists think dwarf planets bore people, imagine how boring planetary exploration will become if everything’s a planet. Or, stated more simply: if everything is exciting, nothing is. Such is life.