Delisting Pluto as a planet was the Denali/McKinley issue of the solar system.
One of the more obnoxious figures associated with the war on Pluto was lefty celeb and alleged rapist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.(of course he got a pass on the sexual harassment and the rape allegations). So this is the return shot being fired in the solar culture war.
Saturday 24 August 2019 marked a vexing anniversary for planetary scientists. It was 13 years to the day that Pluto’s official definition changed – what was once numbered among the planets of the Solar System was now but a humble dwarf planet.
But not everyone agreed with the International Astronomical Union’s ruling – and now NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has added his voice to the chorus declaring support for Pluto’s membership in the Solar System Planet Club.
“Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet,” he said during a tour of the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Building at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“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.”
While Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s star is setting, Pluto’s is rising again.
The Pluto debate is about objective categories, but it’s also about subjective ones. Among other things, it’s about the comfort level that people have with what they know, and the odious role of the celebrity PhD in driving attention to their own antics.