I know I've had bad days before. Days when I just would rather had stayed in bed than to have ever got up. In all of those bad days, however, no one has ever demoted me from "human" to "organism". The planet Pluto is being considered to be demoted from "Planet" to "dwarf planet" at a conference of people who have such authority.
How does one become able to determine and assume that authority, I wonder? I don't know but that's not really where I wanted to go with this so let's get back on track.
Poor Pluto. It has enjoyed being the planetary favorite of all young kids- mostly due to its shared name with the dog from Disney- but a favorite nonetheless. Even I got geeked up some time ago when a probe was sent to Pluto, which is still on it's way. Pluto is the outpost, the last stop. Our outer edge. Beyond Pluto is the even greater unknown. If Pluto looses it status, will it loose these qualifications? Will the edge now be the other kid favorite, Uranus. Would we just pretend that Pluto doesn't exist or count anymore?
I think this is the most unsettling for me. I feel like we're retracting. It's like deciding Nevada isn't a state anymore because it jut doesn't add up to all the other "real" states, so we'll call Utah or maybe even Colorado the last state before reaching our greatest unknown, California. If Wyoming was discovered today, would it be a state? We just don't recoil like this. It's un-American.
I understand the reasons. If we call Pluto a planet there are several other objects we would have to call planets as well to be fair. It makes sense to me, but can't Pluto get the benefit of a Grandfather clause? The benefit of being discovered in a time that we didn't know better? Make it a planet with an asterisk. I just feel that the demotion like this could really hurt Pluto's feelings. The planet that was, and then wasn't. I thought we all loved "the little engine that could" story. What if it was determined that the little engine couldn't because someone decided that the little engine was too small to be an engine and we were to call it a "mechanical device". Would no one care? Could we just dismiss it that easy?
I know. Pluto is an inanimate object and does not have any feelings to be hurt. But correct me if I am wrong, but I don' t think the objects that might qualify the same as Pluto but not receive the planet staus have feelings either. Are we afraid that they might sue for discrimination?
Why not let some scientists roll their eyes every time someone declares that there are 9 planets in our Solar System. Let some smart ass go on and on on some blog somewhere about how there are really 12 or 16 planets if we allow Pluto to continue to be a planet. Let the kids keep Pluto, that small frozen piece of rock way, way out there. Let Pluto be our edge, or border, our last outpost!
Despite the ones who know better. Despite the irregular elliptical orbit. Despite the size. Despite all the arguments against this poor planet- I say let Pluto keep it's planetary status. All new comers must be subjected to the newer standard but Pluto...what? The vote is already final? Pluto is already stripped of any possibility of being a planet...already?
Oh well. Next subject.