NASA scientists intend to propose a new definition of "planet" next month at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

Issue"> TechRevu Will Pluto Get Its Planethood Back?
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Will Pluto Get Its Planethood Back? by Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior Writer
Review by Charles Mohapel
SPACE.com, IAU.org News  ISBN/ITEM#: CM170222PLANET
Date: 22 February 2017

Links: SPACE.com Article / IAU.org / IAU.org Article /

In 2006 Pluto was downgraded from a full-fledged planet to a dwarf planet, but many people, including a number of distinguished scientists and astronomers disagreed strongly.  Now we hear that NASA scientists intend to propose a new definition of "planet" next month at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

Pluto as seen by NASA's New Horizons probe during its epic flyby of the faraway world in July 2015.  Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Advocates of Pluto's planethood are about to fire another salvo in the decade-long debate about the famous object's status.

Scientists on NASA's New Horizons mission, which performed the first-ever flyby of Pluto in July 2015, will officially propose a new definition of "planet" next month, at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

The new definition would replace, or supersede, the one devised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006.  A planet, the IAU determined, is a body that orbits the sun without being the moon of another object; is large enough that its own gravity has rounded it into a sphere (but not so large that it undergoes fusion reactions, like a star); and has "cleared its neighborhood" of most other bodies.

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