POOR Pluto was declassified from being a planet in our Solar System to just a humble dwarf planet 13 year ago.
Despite it being over a decade since this decision was made, the topic is still hotly disputed and there are those who think Pluto should be labelled as a planet once more.
The International Astronomical Union made the final decision but it seems NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has put himself firmly in Pluto’s corner.
Bridenstine recently spoke out about his support for Pluto as a planet during a tour of the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Building at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The Nasa chief said: “Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet.
“You can write that the NASA Administrator declared Pluto a planet once again. I’m sticking by that, it’s the way I learnt it, and I’m committed to it.”
My favorite soundbyte of the day that probably won't make it to TV. It came from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. As a Pluto Supporter, I really appreciated this. #9wx #PlutoLoversRejoice @JimBridenstine pic.twitter.com/NdfQWW5PSZ
— Cory Reppenhagen (@CReppWx) August 23, 2019
Bridenstine’s lighthearted comment doesn’t change Pluto’s classification but it does bring to light the ongoing debate once more.
Pluto was removed from the list of nine planets in August 2006 mostly because its properties were more suited to the definition of a dwarf planet.
The difference between a dwarf planet and a planet is largely to do with the space around it.
Planets have a clear area around their orbit whereas dwarf planets do not.
There are also many other celestial objects a similar size to Pluto with unclear orbits so some scientists have argued that if Pluto where to be considered a planet then all those other objects would have to be too.
However, Pluto has other features like a multilayered atmosphere, moons, weather and organic compounds that all make the issue regarding its planet status even trickier.