March 30, 2009

Clearing Pluto's path

Robotson is going to be an astronomer, at least that's what he says today.  His plan is to build a robot arm that can fly out to Pluto, and with it's attached vacuum, it will suck up all of the debris in Pluto's path.  It will then burn it and send the ashes into space, towards the sun where they will really be burned up.  In the meantime, Pluto will now fit the definition of a planet again, having met all three criteria for planetdom.   And just because we like Pluto so much, he is going to use the robot arm to move this new planet closer to the sun, not too close so it gets too hot, but not too far either.  He was vague on he details of why Pluto needs to move, but he was sure it did need a change of location.

Then he borrowed Astronomica and took it to his room for some light reading.   

1 comment:

  1. I hope your son does become an astronomer, but he should know that there is no need for Pluto to "clear its orbit" to be a planet. That criterion is part of a very controversial planet definition adopted by only four percent of the IAU, most of whom are not planetary scientists. Their decision was rejected by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and like-minded scientists believe a planet is any non-self-luminous spheroidal body orbiting a star, and they are working to overturn the IAU demotion and/or ignoring it altogether. We certainly have not heard the last word on this.