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Pluto’s Planet Status Defined by The Trio Condition

Pluto should be considered a planet or not. A few years back it was considered a planet, Pluto has since been “demoted” by the scientific community and is now considered a dwarf planet.

Now, despite no one asking him to, NASA boss Jim Bridenstine has weighed in on the debate, and he’s pro-Pluto. In a small video clip posted on social media, Bridenstine offers a considerably tongue-in-cheek take on Pluto’s standing.

For many years, schools taught that Pluto was the ninth and most distant planet from the Sun, but that all changed just a few years back when astronomers began to discover many Pluto-sized objects drifting within the remote reaches of the solar system. Those discoveries required scientists to rethink their definition of what a planet is, and Pluto ultimately didn’t cut.

The international astronomy community decided that for a world to be officially a planet, it needed to meet a trio of conditions. Pluto quickly met the primary two that the object has to orbit a host star and be roundish in shape.

However, Pluto fell in need of the third requirement, that the object has to have cleared its “orbital neighborhood” of other objects. This meant that Pluto (and other objects of an identical size hanging out close to the Kuiper Belt of debris on the edge of our system) was only a dwarf planet.

There’s still plenty of disagreement, even amongst astronomers, regarding the fairness of these standards, but the truth stays that at the moment, Pluto isn’t a planet. Bridenstine’s opinion gained sway the needle at all, and it’s clear he doesn’t expect it. However, it’s still value knowing where NASA’s chief stands on this particular topic.