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NASA principal speaks; Pluto is a planet: ‘It’s the way we learned it’

'Voyager' The NASA probe on a mission
'Voyager' The NASA probe on a mission

Pluto may have lost its status as a planet more than years ago, however, don’t tell that to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Speaking at the University of Colorado recently, Bridenstine made it clear that he believes Pluto is a planet, notwithstanding it being controversially demoted Aug., by the International Astronomical Union.

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“Just so someone knows, in my view, Pluto is a planet, the former Oklahoma congressman noted. Someone has to write that the NASA administrator declared Pluto a planet once again. I’m sticking by that, it’s the way we learned it and I’m committed to it.”

This image made obtainable by NASA in March shows Pluto illuminated from behind by the sun as the fresh Horizons spacecraft travels away from it at a distance of concerning, miles, and kilometers. The probe will ring in by exploring an even more distant and mysterious world. NASA Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Southwest investigation Institute via AP

NASA research
NASA research

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CAUSE OF MYSTERIOUS METHANE SPIKES ON MARS STILL UNKNOWN

Even though the IAU’s choice to demote Pluto to a dwarf planet is final, Bridenstine joins a growing list of academics and experts who believe Pluto should be promoted back to being a planet.

Last year, Philip Metzger, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida, argued in a paper published in the paper Icarus that the reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid.

The IAU noted that many of Pluto’s properties were more suited to that of a dwarf planet, together with the space around it and a clear orbit. Pluto’s orbit is shared with frozen gases and objects in the Kuiper belt, scientists note.

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Pluto, which has a multilayered atmosphere, moons and other features usually associated with planets, is also influenced by Neptune’s gravity.

Pluto, as seen by NASA’s fresh Horizons spacecraft during its epic flyby of the dwarf planet in July.

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.

PLUTO SHOULD BE A PLANET AGAIN, scientists ARGUE

At the time of Metzger’s argument, the IAU informed reporters it had not yet received a formal proposal to change its definition of a planet.

“There is a very clear, and known, way to table motions in the IAU, which is to propose an IAU Resolution through the relevant Working Groups and Division. So far, no such Resolutions have been proposed,” a spokesman noted. “It is nevertheless good and healthy to debate these topics.”

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