Should Pluto Be Named A Planet Again?

pluto should be named a planet

The New Horizons probe, which NASA launched nearly 10 years ago to observe Pluto up close, sent back some incredible of the planet. But wait, is it a planet, or not?

When New Horizons left Earth in January 2006, Pluto was officially a member of the planet club along with Mercury, Venus, our lovely green home, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. By the end of that year, the powers that be decided to strip Pluto of its planet-hood. Instead, they determined that the tiny, cold, barren sphere should be relegated to the status of dwarf planet.

Now that we have these beautiful, detailed, never-before-seen images of Pluto, many are wondering if we’ve made a mistake. Should we bring Pluto back into the fold of true planets? Or is all of this just semantics?

Here’s a little backstory to explain how we got to the present conundrum. Back in 1930, when Pluto was officially discovered, scientists did not have the equipment we enjoy using 85 years later. They guessed that Pluto was roughly the same size as Earth. While they were wrong, their assumption made it reasonable that Pluto should be the ninth planet circling out sun.

As the years went on, and technology improved, researchers found that Pluto’s mass was much smaller than Earth’s. By 2006, it was determined that earth was 459 times larger than Pluto. Pluto was also swimming amidst a lot of junk—not in a cleared-put area like other planets.

But here’s what really did in Pluto’s planet status: In 2005, astronomers found an object near Neptune which they named Eris. This little planet also orbits the sun—and it happens to be 27 times the mass of Pluto.

So the dilemma was this: make Eris the 10th planet, or make Pluto a non-planet. Officials decided on the latter.

While there are some tangible implications to the debate, such as funding for planetary research, does it really matter what we think Pluto is? It’s out there, it’s circling the sun, it’s round, and we now have a greater appreciation for its beauty thanks to New Horizons. Yes, there are moons and other objects larger than Pluto, but that’s not the point.

Regardless of what we call objects in the sky, they deserve our attention and our awe. Is Pluto a planet, a dwarf planet, or something else?

Who cares. Let’s find out as much as we can about it, regardless of its classification.

Related Article: MonaVie
  • Austin Ward

    Pluto is a planet, plain and simple.

  • Pierre

    Of course Pluto is a planet, a part of the family of planets both seen and unseen. Pluto is a pet planet, a proxy for all the other stray dwarfs in distance and unique orbits. Not a planet? It would be like saying our dog is not a part of our family just because she doesn’t walk like we do or pay taxes or because she’s small. Any evening we can look up and know that Pluto is out there somewhere patrolling the outer limits even though we can’t see him any more than we can see Uranus or Neptune or the dark side of the moon. Not a planet? You might as well say Australia is not a continent. Pluto is the exclamation point at the end of the thought we use to describe who we are—the unknown, the unseen, the overlooked. Pluto completes our solar system. Pluto is a planet because we say he is. He’s our pet.

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