You know the old tagline: In space, no one can hear you scream. Unfortunately, being stuck on this rapidly warming rock of ours, we can hear everyone screaming just fine—especially those yowling about the particularities of space itself, ironically.
Last we checked in on our demoted pal, Pluto, it was still most certainly not a planet, despite a decade-and-a-half’s worth of grousing from overly invested astronomy fans (welcome to the world of pop culture, astronomy fans). And even though the man responsible for snatching away its designation in the first place tried to make it up to everyone recently, the fact remains that it is still highly unlikely the International Astronomical Union will backtrack on its 2006 decision.
Perhaps it’s the knowledge of this near hopeless case that recently prompted a group of scientists to apparently throw up their hands and give their go-for-broke demand of “Screw it. We don’t just want Pluto back, we want another 150 goddamn planets added to the list.”
That’s the gist of a new article published in the research journal Icarus, arguing that the IAU are the real jabronis here, goddamnit. As NBC News breaks it down, the team of scientists allege that the current planetary classification system is based more on outdated astrological (read: pseudoscientific) terminologies, and should be updated to reflect the modern age.
A “planet,” by their definition, is “any geologically active” body in space, which not only would rope Pluto back into the fold, but also moons like Europa, Enceladus and Titan, as well as the asteroid, Ceres. All in all, about 150 new “planets” to add to the existing eight.
Unfortunately, as planetary geologist Paul Byrne explained, all this back-and-forth about taxonomy often overshadows much of the other genuinely fascinating aspects about these celestial bodies of all sizes. “Every time I gave a talk and I put up a picture of Pluto, the first question was not about the planet’s geology, but why was it demoted?” he told NBC News. “That’s what stuck with people, and that’s a real shame.”
Don’t get us wrong; we’re sure these classifications matter for all kinds of research purposes. But it was hard enough to remember “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” as a child… God help the generation that needs to figure out a 150-letter mnemonic device.
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