Friday, August 25, 2006

Earth No Planet Either

Today New Scientist offers a NASA scientist's reply to the shocking downgrading of Pluto from planet to dwarf-planet, a newly dreamed up category of celestial bodies:
The no-less shocking implication of the new definition of planets would downgrade Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune too!

"The definition stipulates that to be a planet, an object must have cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit. But Earth's orbital neighbourhood is filled with thousands of near-Earth asteroids, Stern says.
And Mars, Jupiter and Neptune have so-called "Trojan" asteroids sharing their orbits. "This is a half-baked criterion for planethood," he says.

Stern also criticises that with no email-voting in place only less than 5% of eligible voters actually voted on the planetary downgrading.

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