NASA Scientists Demand Pluto Be Reclassified As A Planet, Tackling The IAU Definition Of A Planet


Two NASA scientists demand Pluto be reclassified as a planet as it has been downgraded to a dwarf planet in 2006, despite that some astronomers have disagreed with this classification. The two researchers came out to tackle the International Astronomical Union (IAU) definition of the term “planet”.

In an article which has been issued a few days ago in the Washington Post, the astrobiologist David Grinspoon and Alan Stem, senior scientists at the NASA’s New Horizons, are demanding for the reclassification of Pluto as a planet in its fullness. According to them, all the features of Pluto, such as the relief forms and clouds existence, are a strong point for the reclassification of this celestial body.

Grinspoon and Stem tackled the definition of the term planet that was proposed and adopted in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) when, as a consequence, they cataloged Pluto as a “dwarf planet.” In the definition of the term planet, the IAU has used 3 criteria for defining a planet:

  • A space object must have a gravitational attraction force sufficient enough to maintain a hydrostatic balance;
  • The object has to orbit around a star;
  • The object must have a clear orbit without other objects in its path;

The NASA scientists disagree with the IAU’s criteria used to classify a space object as a planet and demand Pluto be reclassified as a planet

In the article, Grinspoon and Stern have stated that some moons of the Solar System are much larger than some of the planets, such as Saturn’s Titan’s moon, which is larger than Mercury.

However, they agree with one of the criteria imposed by the IAU as they believe that the planets should have a circular orbit and those that are too small to have such an orbit should be framed in another category.

One of the criteria the scientists disagree with is the orbit of the object around the sun.

Besides, the NASA scientists consider that the criterion of a clear orbit around a star should be deleted. The two specialists consider it absurd and argue their opinion saying that, according to this criterion, if the Earth were magically transported inside the asteroid belt it would no longer be considered a planet. The two demand Pluto be reclassified as a planet.


Related Posts