Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why Pluto, Ceres and Xena Should Be Planets

The International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of its status as planet. They did this by redefining a planet as “a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.” Pluto's path overlaps Neptune's, which previously occasionally made Neptune the 9th planet.

Of course, this doesn't explain why Neptune is still considered a planet, since it hasn't cleared Pluto from its path. But anyway ... (lame, I know).

They also declined to create any new planets, even 2003 UB303, also affectionately known as "Xena," [ed: add ululation here] which is larger than Pluto.

But here's why they're wrong. My Very Eccentric Manager, Carl, Just Sent Us Nine Peculiar Xeroxes. That's right, I made a cool mnemonic device that incorporates Ceres, Pluto and Xena.

What a waste. But whatever, you scientists who keep redefining things when mnemonic devices get too complicated. I think I'll become a creationist. They never need mnemonic devices for anything.

[/petulance]



Update: WashParkProphet has invited us to come up with a name for the chunks of space ice and detritus that are significantly large enough to get a new name, which, for now, are being called Small Solar System Bodies, or SSSBs. Unacceptably sucky.

They are also unacceptably dangerous, a grave and gathering threat, what I would call PFTHP (pronounced pfthp) - Potential Future Threats to Home Planet.

In keeping with the foreign policy of our Administration, I think we must take a proactive policy towards those PFTHP and hunt them down, destroy them there so we won't be destroyed here. Plus, waging active war against heavenly bodies that hate our freedoms won't create more heavenly bodies that hate our freedoms.

However, though PFTHP does somewhat adequately express how I feel about them, it's simply not a specifically descriptive enough acronym, since it's only reflective of the threat and not a comforting and aggressive epithet to rally the nation to action. Plus, I keep having to wipe off the monitor screen.

So I propose the name mustbedestroids (or even MSBs) to describe small solar system bodies. Because they must be destroyed. Duh.

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