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What Will It Take To Blow Up Pluto?

31 Oct 2009, 04:49 UTC
What Will It Take To Blow Up Pluto?
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“25 billion of your biggest bombs please. I’ll pay credit, thanks!”
"I love the smell of venting volatiles in the morning..."
The Pluto debate frustrates me, as you may have noticed. It’s not that I have particularly strong views about whether it should be called a planet or a dwarf planet or a plutoid or pygmy planetoid, it’s that I really don’t care; I actually see Pluto’s “demotion” as exciting progress in the field of Solar System science rather than any derogatory gesture aimed at Pluto. Pluto is still Pluto; it hasn’t been knocked out of orbit, it hasn’t even been “bombed” (unlike our poor old Moon), it’s just being filed under a different category.
A King Amongst Dwarfs
In my opinion, calling Pluto a “planet” was unworkable, especially after a bigger dwarf planet was discovered in 2005 by a team of astronomers led by Dr. Mike Brown. This dwarf planet was named Eris (or 136199 Eris) and at first it seemed like we had gained a tenth planet.
The “ten planets” thing was short lived, however. In recognition that Eris probably represented the beginning of a spate of discoveries of welterweight worlds, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) took ...

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