Pluto was declassified as a planet over 13 years ago. However, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine doesn’t want to hear that.
One of the favorite topics of debate in astronomy is whether or not Pluto should be considered a planet.
For decades, schools taught that Pluto was the ninth and most distant planet from the Sun. However, that all changed in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union voted to demote Pluto to “dwarf planet.”
When astronomers started to discover many Pluto-sized rocks drifting in the distant reaches of the solar system, they decided to rethink their definition of what a planet really is.
The IAU defines a planet as a celestial body that “has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit,” which means that it must be the largest gravitational force in its orbit.
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However, speaking at the University of Colorado recently, Bridenstine made it clear that he believes the dwarf planet is instead a planet.
“Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet,” NASA boss said. “You can write that the NASA administrator declared Pluto a planet once again. I’m sticking by that, it’s the way I learned it and I’m committed to it.”
My favorite soundbyte of the day that probably won't make it to TV. It came from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. As a Pluto Supporter, I really appreciated this. #9wx #PlutoLoversRejoice @JimBridenstine pic.twitter.com/NdfQWW5PSZ— Cory Reppenhagen (@CReppWx) August 23, 2019
Bridenstine made his declaration at a painful time — the anniversary of Pluto’s demotion.
However, Bridenstine’s opinion won’t sway the needle at all, but it’s good to know where NASA’s chief stands on this particular topic.
Mr. Bridenstine has no background in science and previously served in Congress and the US Navy before joining NASA.