- Scientists raised questions on IAU’s decision regarding Pluto
- Scientist said – International Astronomical Union’s decision was ‘unscientific’
- Former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine also considered Pluto to be a ‘planet’
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) classified Pluto as a ‘dwarf planet’ in 2006. The IAU claimed that Pluto failed to meet three key requirements to be classified as a full-fledged planet. In a research paper published in the scientific journal ‘Icarus’, the researchers argued that the IAU should change its position on Pluto. He said the IAU should scrap its non-scientific definition and teach revisionist history.
According to the IAU, for a celestial body to be considered a planet, it must be spherical, orbit a star and not have the same gravitational location with other objects in its orbit. However, researchers from universities, observatories and research institutes have criticized the decision. After studying the astronomical and planetary literature on the subject for five years, the researchers termed the IAU’s decision as “hurried”.
IAU’s decision was ‘unscientific’
They also claim that the decision was unscientific. Pluto’s planetary status has sparked much debate in the astronomical community since 2006. Despite the IAU’s ruling, some high-profile reports continue to refer to Pluto as a planet. An example is former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine who announced in 2019 that he considered Pluto a planet. NASA scientist Alan Stern, who led New Horizon’s mission to Pluto, also said that he considers it a planet.
Strange figures seen on Pluto
When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took off in space in 2015, it took some amazing pictures. It also included stunning photos of ‘Sputnik Planitia’, one of Pluto’s largest craters. An unusual pattern of strange figures carved on the surface can be seen in the photographs. The “polygonal or cellular” shapes are thought to be the result of heat exchange in the nitrogen ice layer covering the dwarf planet, according to NASA.
The US Space Agency said that the surface of Sputnik Planitia appears dark towards the edge. Which possibly indicates a change in the structure or texture of the surface. The dark bumps on the sides of the cell are probably ‘icebergs’ of dirty water floating in the dense solid nitrogen. A team of international researchers, including experts from the University of Exeter, has described how these unusual structures took their shape. Sputnik Planitia is a large crater located in the northern hemisphere of the planet, with a plain as large as a small country.