Space

NASA wants to change definition of ‘Planet’ and add Pluto again in Solar System

NASA's Horizon Spacecraft starts exploring firststage of exploring Pluto, a task that has never been done before

It is almost 11 years when Pluto was demoted from the status of the last planet in solar system. Following the decision of International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006, Pluto was debarred from the status of a dwarf planet of the planetary system. But now, after more than a decade, the planetary scientists of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are gearing up to revert back Pluto its lost status of the ninth planet of solar system.  In the last one decade, there are multiple powerful new sources have emerged and a number of space-based observatories have been conducted, which has partially changed those understanding standards that disqualified Pluto from its status of Plant.

Planetary Scientists of NASA, including those who are currently associated with the agency’s New Horizons mission – intended for exploring Pluto – want to redefine the characterization and norms that label the eligibility of a celestial object to be called as a planet. The current definition, prescribed by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has barred Pluto from its position of solar system’s ninth planet, and re-categorise the planetary system with eight planets like – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Alongside Pluto, IAU’s modified definition of the planet put a number of celestial objects in the outer solar system, designating them a type of their own, known as dwarf-planets. But, now NASA has argued that IAU definition of a planet is not enforceable by intercontinental planetary regulations, and hence is still a matter of scientific conjecture.

According to Alan Stern, the lead scientist of NASA on the New Horizon mission, “The definition of a planet, enforced by the IAU is “Bullshit”, and it has no sense.” As stated by Stern, Pluto has a multifaceted geography and also an atmosphere, much thicker than the atmosphere of Mercury. Moreover, it also has water ice Mountains that are much taller and bigger than Earth’s Rocky Mountains as well as the ridges on ice-covered surfaces that are the clear symbol of environmental activity.

As per the argument of Stern, all such factors which have played the most crucial roles in defining other planets of solar system, how can be ignored by IAU while redefining ‘Pluto’.  “We look Pluto as a planet, not as a mere celestial object”, said Alan Stern in his statement to a local daily newspaper.

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