Thirteen years ago, Pluto lost its status as a planet. However, Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), on Friday said that Pluto should be classified as a planet.
During a speech at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, Jim Bridenstine said, “I am here to tell you, as the NASA Administrator, I believe Pluto should be a planet.” “I like there being nine planets, how about that?” he added, noting Pluto’s buried ocean, moons and multilayered atmosphere.
It is worth mentioning here that Bridenstine has voiced support for classifying Pluto as a planet in the past. "You can write that the NASA administrator declared Pluto a planet once again," he said during an August speech at the University of Colorado. "I’m sticking by that. It’s the way I learned it and I’m committed to it," he had said.
Philip Metzger, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida, had last year argued in a paper published in the journal Icarus that the reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid.
The decision to demote Pluto from the 'planet-hood' was all the more affirming after the discovery of another distant celestial body called Eris in 2005 which led IAU to lay down three guidelines. These three guidelines had to be adhered to by any celestial body to officially constitute itself as a planet. However, Pluto didn't fall under all the guidelines due to its placement in the Kuiper Belt and along with Eris, it was put under the belt of dwarf planets.
Pluto, which has a multilayered atmosphere, Moons, and other features commonly associated with planets, is also influenced by Neptune's gravity. Pluto was discovered by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 and then it was considered as the ninth planet of the Solar System.