Pluto is the hottest news in the universe right now. Image from NPR.ORG. Since its discovery in 1930, it has always been considered a planet. Then several years ago, it was given a newly created designation as a dwarf planet. Not everyone agrees with this created label.
This all sounds cartoonish in a Disney sort of way. Pluto, dwarfs & it’s a small world after all. Sorry Walt, but someone had to make the connection.
My premise remains that If it was big enough to be discovered 85 years ago, called a planet then; then it would remain forever so designated. This smacks of judging the past by the standards of today.
Then there is the whole interstellar diversity in labeling issue. <hence the human resources tie-in>. Does size always have to matter? Does labeling something alter its core identity?
So tonight while we sleep, NASA’s New Horizons space craft will zoom by Pluto, taking measurements, pictures & collecting data. According to NASA, it will take nearly 16 months to download the dataset.
Alice Bowman oversees daily operations for NASA’s mission to Pluto. Her language is peppered with technical terms — like “astronomical units” and “aim points.”
But there’s one piece of scientific nomenclature you won’t hear coming from Bowman’s lips: dwarf planet.
“Pluto is a planet,” she says. “And that’s the way I will always think of it.”