There are a lot of people who are mad that Pluto is a dwarf planet. People like Stephen Colbert. The small, icy world was downgraded by the International Astronomical Union back in 2006, and many people (like Stephen Colbert) blame astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for the demotion. Indeed, many assert that Tyson single handedly championed Pluto's downfall.

In an interview this week, Colbert tried his hardest to get Tyson to change his mind and admit that Pluto should, once again, be a planet. Ultimately, Colbert's argument centered on the recently obtained images of the dwarf planet, which come thanks to NASA's New Horizons mission.

Image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard New Horizons, taken on July 13, 2015

To defend his position, Colbert asserted, “It looks like a planet, it’s got atmosphere, it even has a heart—unlike you." However, Tyson maintained his position, arguing that reinstating Pluto would be an insult to all the other planets.

The journey to Pluto took us nearly a decade, and that’s just counting travel time. It can be said that our path to Pluto really began in 1990, when Alan Stern and Fran Bagenal started fighting for a mission to the icy dwarf at the edge of our solar system.

And now, 25 years later, after several project cancellations and funding issues, after technological issues and an abrupt demotion in planetary status, after 3 billion miles (4.8 billion km)…we have reached our goal at last.

Understandably, the event has emotions flying high, and many are arguing that Pluto should be reconsidered. But if Tyson has his way, things won't change (and in truth, they are unlikely to change anyways, as the definition of a planet is rather cemented in, at this point).

WATCH: Colbert vs Neil de Grasse Tyson

 


Share This Article