NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has triggered new clashes over Pluto’s status, speaking out in favour of making it a planet again. In fact, he denounced reclassifying it as a dwarf planet 13 years ago.
"Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet. 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 NASA chief said during his tour of the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Building at the University of Colorado Boulder just a day before the anniversary of the controversial change.
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
Encouraged by a high-ranking NASA official, opponents of Pluto’s demotion decided to speak up and back its return to the planetary club.
Dear Pluto,— Jimmy Ribeiro (@Jimmy_Ribeiro) August 27, 2019
I was confused and sad that NASA demoted you in 2006.
When someone asked me a long time ago if I believe in a million dollars, I never saw it, but I know it exists. I never saw you, but you're a planet again. Welcome back little big death dude.
Humanity 2019 pic.twitter.com/Xx0iuMAjq5
However, many blasted Bridenstine’s argumentation.
This is Bridenstine's entire argument, which ignores everything we've learned in the 89 years since Pluto was first discovered: "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."— Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) August 27, 2019
ok love nasa but this sucks. give me a reason for a planet pluto that isn’t based on nostalgia https://t.co/g8DSejvziq— loose leaf omelette (@IAmEthanGower) August 24, 2019
Others just used it as an opportunity to mess around and mock the whole discussion.
Why are earthling, mostly whites determining this without even asking the Plutonians what they think or want???? decolonize pluto and self-determination to Plutonians, end white supremacy in Outerspace!!!— Daniell Cohen (@DaniellCohen2) August 27, 2019
When people start fighting about whether or not Pluto is a planet. pic.twitter.com/KoI6cS3rAS— Shannon Stirone 💀 (@shannonmstirone) August 24, 2019
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), which comprises astronomical organisations from all over the world, reclassified Pluto from being a planet in the Solar System to a dwarf planet in August 2006. A year later, however, a new dwarf planet was discovered that was 27 percent larger than Pluto and, ironically enough, received the name of the Greek goddess of discord, Eris. The IAU presented its definition of a planet, which Pluto did not match. This sparked heated debate that has been ongoing to this day.
The discussions received additional fuel from discoveries made during NASA’s New Horizons mission in 2015. The agency’s lead scientist for the mission, Alan Stern, co-authored a paper urging fellow researchers to reconsider Pluto’s classification. As proponents of Pluto being a planet point out, despite its relatively small size, it still has a multi-layered atmosphere, organic compounds on its surface, its own moons, and even weather and tremors like other planets.