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    The planet Pluto is pictured in a handout image made up of four images from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) taken in July 2015 combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this enhanced color global view

    NASA Chief Sparks Online Debate on Pluto’s Status, Saying He Believes It’s Planet

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    Although Pluto was thrown out of the Solar System’s club of planets more than a decade ago, scientists have never ceased to argue about the matter, with many believing that its status should be restored. Discoveries by NASA’s 2015 New Horizons mission resulted in several discoveries that bolstered the arguments of advocates in favour of restoring Pluto’s status.

    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.

    ​Encouraged by a high-ranking NASA official, opponents of Pluto’s demotion decided to speak up and back its return to the planetary club.

    ​However, many blasted Bridenstine’s argumentation.

    ​Others just used it as an opportunity to mess around and mock the whole discussion.

    ​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.

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