6-Year-Old Writes a Letter Demanding NASA Make Pluto a Planet Again
NASA has typically been one of the less controversial government agencies throughout its history, but if you ask somebody who was infuriated when NASA declared Pluto no longer a planet back in 2006, they might disagree.
Now just a dwarf planet, there have been official attempts to reclassify Pluto as the ninth planet in our solar system once again, but it's complicated by the fact that many definitions of "planet" which include Pluto would have to include the other dwarf planets in our solar system like Ceres, Haumea, Eris, Makemake, and the countless ones we haven't discovered yet. If that happened, we wouldn't know how many planets we have, but it would be a whole lot more than nine.
Even so, you have to respect the six-year-old Irish girl who just wrote an open letter to NASA demanding they give Pluto the planetary respect it deserves.
Making her claim on the grounds that simply throwing Pluto away is "mean" and flies in the face of numerous children's videos about the solar system that she's watched, student Cara Lucy O'Connor and her teacher penned a letter to the space agency in the hopes that they'll finally change their minds.
The letter makes some arguments that most astronomers would never even attempt, and the most salient point in the girl's argument reads as follows:
She concluded by telling NASA they "need to fix this problem for me," and she ended up receiving an official reply from the director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, James Green. Here is Green's rebuttal:
While it's unlikely to be made a planet once again, we are learning more about Pluto. NASA's New Horizons space probe has been flying over the dwarf planet for the past few years (although it's heading farther out now), giving us some of our best looks at Pluto yet.
So perhaps Green is right - it doesn't matter whether Pluto is a dwarf planet or not, because we're still exploring it all the same. And NASA has similar plans for Ceres, and possibly future dwarf planets as we discover them.