Fans of Pluto have had a hard time letting go of the fact that it’s no longer a planet. Even though the cosmic body was demoted more than a decade ago, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine apparently isn’t ready to give up the fight.
“Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet, and you can write that the NASA administrator declared Pluto a planet once again,” Bridenstine said in a video posted to Twitter on Friday. “I’m sticking by that. “It’s the way I learned it and I’m committed to it.”
The International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of its planetary status in 2006 because it’s “smaller than our moon, not of planetary size.” It was deemed a “dwarf planet” instead.
Efforts to restore Pluto’s planetary status have been ongoing. Last year, University of Central Florida planetary scientist Philip Metzger argued in a study that Pluto qualifies for the title. He suggested planets should be classified based on being big enough that their gravity allows them to be spherical.
In 2017, NASA’s New Horizons team, which guided the spacecraft in a close-up study of Pluto, proposed a new definition for planets that would allow Pluto to qualify. Some moons and other solar system objects would also be deemed planets.
For now, we can just reminisce about the good old days when Pluto held equal weight as the other eight “planets.”
NASA’s Mars helicopter passes flight tests