Pluto Still Deserves to Be a Planet, NASA Chief Says

Space.com | 8/23/2019 | Passant Rabie
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Even though Pluto was officially downgraded from planetary status over a decade ago, fans of the solar system's underdog are still rooting for the small cosmic body. Case in point: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who stepped into the long-standing debate over Pluto's planethood during press remarks on Friday (Aug. 23).

"Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet, and you can write that the NASA administrator declared Pluto a planet once again, Bridenstine said during a FIRST robotics event in Colorado this week.

Video - Exchange - Twitter - Cory - Reppenhagen

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by meteorologist Cory Reppenhagen of 9News.

That verdict goes against the official decision made by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) back in 2006, which resulted from a vote among astronomers.

Pluto - Fans - Delight - Bridenstine - Dedication

But much to Pluto fans' delight, Bridenstine reiterated his dedication. Pluto is a planet, he said. "I'm sticking by that. It's the way I learned it, and I'm committed to it."

Pluto was discovered by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Some researchers began calling Pluto's planethood into question in the late 1990s, after it became clear that Pluto was far from alone in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune's orbit.

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