(WHNT) — Despite being “demoted” and renamed a “dwarf” planet, the longstanding argument that Pluto deserves to be reinstated continues.
Pluto, first discovered in 1930, was named by 11-year-old Venetia Burney of Oxford, England, who suggested to her grandfather that it should be named after the Roman god of the underworld.
Several generations since then were taught that Pluto was the 9th planet in our solar system – but in 2006, that was all ripped away from us when its planetary status was revoked (and initiating a heartfelt war with terminology).
Pluto’s planetary status was withdrawn by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) because it shares its orbit around the sun with objects called “plutinos.”
But don’t worry, kids these days are still learning about the tiny, icy dwarf planet! There’s even a whole day dedicated to it on Feb. 18.
There are even some at NASA (you know, the space experts) who stand firm that Pluto should be reclassified as a recognized planet. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he considers it a planet: “It’s the way I learned it and I’m committed to it.”
His stance came after observations from NASA’s New Horizons revealed in 2015 that Pluto was much more complex than previously thought.
“I’m here to tell you, as the NASA administrator, I believe Pluto is a planet,” he said, to applause from the audience.
NASA Scientist Alan Stern even co-authored a paper petitioning for it to be reclassified.
Astronomers have even named three other objects that are about the same size as Pluto: Ceres [SEAR-ees], Makemake (MAH-kee-MAH-kee], and Eris (AIR-iss]. These objects, along with Pluto, are considered to be much smaller than the “other” planets.
There is still a fair argument since Pluto is only about half the size of the United States, measuring one-sixth of the mass of Earth’s moon and one-third of its volume.
So which team are you on? Was the demotion of Pluto necessary, or should it be brought back to its original planetary status that we all grew to know and love?