planet      pluto

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles…Mercury,Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. That is how I learned in 5th grade to memorize the planets of the solar system and it has stuck to this day. There are nine planets in the solar system…wrong. On August 24, 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) reclassified Pluto as a “dwarf planet” ( PC: Size Impaired) and our solar system became eight. I liked Pluto, it seemed so distant, dark, and cold. In fact Pluto got it’s name because it’s darkness, it is the name for the god of the underworld in classical mythology.  The planet was first discovered in 1930 and had a good run of 76-years as the farthest planet from the sun. Also in 1930 Disney introduced a new animated dog and named it Pluto after the new planet. Maybe it was destiny that Pluto could never talk while Goofy could. In 1941 a new element was created and named plutonium after the planet. The atomic bomb was created soon afterward and in 1945 it brought an end to WWII.

I can only wonder how many of us constructed the 9-planet solar system with balls or circles of different sizes as a science project…for that reason alone I think Pluto should be reinstated. Three generations of school kids have toiled on that project and the hardest part was getting it to school without it falling apart. Dumping Pluto is like taking a crayon out of the box and saying it doesn’t exist anymore. Wait a minute, I just used that crayon to do her hair, what am I gonna’ use now? Maybe a lawyer can claim the Statue of Limitations on Pluto since we have had it for over seven years. There are two states, Illinois and New Mexico which denounced the ruling of the IAU and still consider Pluto a planet. They believe there is a sentimental value attached among the people, like me, who grew up learning Pluto was a planet. It’s worth mentioning that the man credited with discovering Pluto in 1930 was a resident of these two states and celebrate ” Pluto Planet Day” on March 13. There is a slight hope that Pluto may be reinstated. In 2006 NASA launched it’s first mission to Pluto with a spacecraft the size of a piano and will reach Pluto in 2015, a distance of 3-billion miles ( there are some mega-smart people at NASA). It will give us the proof needed to decide either way. I just found it curious that a planet that we all knew and some of us loved could be eliminated like that…no vote, just gone…bummer. At least we still have Uranus which is funny every time I hear it. They can’t take Uranus away.



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