Adding/Subtracting Planets

So instead of demoting Pluto to non-planetary status, there’s now a movement afoot to upgrade Charon, Ceres (which used to be considered a planet in the 1800s, then was downgraded), and the object known as 2003 UB313 (informally dubbed Xena). Lore Sjöberg over at Slumbering Lungfish has an amusing take on this:

There’s a lot of emotional attachment to Pluto as a planet, but I don’t think people are taking into account a group of citizens unable to speak for themselves, coherently at least: stoned students in dorm rooms. If we expand the definition of planet, stoned students in dorm rooms will no longer be able to speculate that maybe the solar system is actually a big flourine atom. Sure, they can switch to speculating that the solar system is just a big magnesium atom, but what of the future? As we find more objects in the Plutonian class, stoned college students in dorm rooms will have to alter their drug-induced imaginings, perhaps even in the middle of a bong hit. And, as our powers of astronomical observation become more advanced, we may find that, thanks to Pluto, the solar system is actually a big plutonium atom.

These are the minds of the future, people. Can we afford to blow them?


One response to “Adding/Subtracting Planets”

  1. Allen Steele said a few days ago that his newest book (_Spindrift_) won’t be released until TPTB make up their minds about the object known as 2003 UB313.
    Without too many hints, he said it figures prominently in _Spindrift_ and he doesn’t want the book to be dated before it’s published!