Pluto Remains As A Planet, NASA Lead Says.
Pluto will always be a planet. That is the message of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine after scientists marked the 13th year on August 24 that the dwarf planet was removed from the solar system.A
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) reclassified Pluto in 2006 since it did not meet the criteria used to define a full-sized planet. But more than a decade after the declaration, theA federal official remained against the decision of the association.
Bridenstine recently announced that he will continue to support the idea that Pluto is among the major planets in the solar system, ScienceAlert (https://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-administrator-jim-bridenstine-says-pluto-is-a-planet) reported Monday . He joins the planetary scientists who have been calling on the IAU to reconsider its decision over the past years.A
"Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet," the NASA lead said at the University of Colorado Boulder's Aerospace Engineering Sciences Building. "You can write that the NASA administrator declared Pluto a planet once again. I'm sticking by that, it's the way I learnt it, and I'm committed to it."
The Dwarf Planet's Big JourneyA
The IAU decided to remove Pluto from the official list of planets orbiting the Sun in 2006 after finalizing the new definition of planets and dwarf planets. The association established the standards after astronomers discovered an object, called Eris, in the solar system.A
Eris appeared bigger than Pluto but both were described as dwarf planets. Astronomers said there are other objects or rocks as large as Pluto floating in the Kuiper Belt.
That is the main basis of IAU decision to redesignate the former ninth planet from the Sun. But Alan Stern, head of the New Horizons mission at NASA, is among the hundreds of planetary scientists who petitioned against it.
"My conclusion is that the IAU definition is not only unworkable and unteachable, but so scientifically flawed and internally contradictory that it cannot be strongly defended against claims of scientific sloppiness, 'ir-rigor,' and cogent classification," he said in an article in 2006.
In early 2019, Stern discussed the issue with Ron Ekers of the IAU and called for reconsidering Pluto's planet status. The experts who support Stern and Bridenstine explained that the dwarf planet appeared with multilayered atmosphere, organic compounds, weather, moons, mountain ranges, potential liquid oceans and "plutoquakes."
The debate continues and IAU did express interest in putting Pluto back to the Solar System Planetary Club.