On this episode of Useless Planets Society, Chelsea and Leah get into the nitty-gritty of what it could take to formally make Pluto a planet – not by altering the foundations laid out by the Worldwide Astronomical Union, however by altering the photo voltaic system. They’re joined of their quest by Kathryn Volk on the College of Arizona and Konstantin Batygin on the California Institute of Know-how.
Of the necessities to formally be a planet, the one Pluto misses out on is the power to clear its orbital path of particles: the distant little world is simply not large enough to comb away all the opposite rocks in its orbit. So what if it had been greater? It might take plenty of mass to make that occur, and there could be penalties to super-sizing it.
Possibly it could be simpler to easily drag Pluto to a greater orbit, someplace that’s already largely empty – so long as that orbit is way sufficient from the solar that Pluto doesn’t simply evaporate. There may be at all times the choice to drop a small black gap into Pluto or shrink the photo voltaic system round it. These could also be harder to perform, however our hosts are as much as the problem.
Useless Planets Society is a podcast that takes outlandish concepts about find out how to tinker with the cosmos – from snapping the moon in half to inflicting a gravitational wave apocalypse – and topics them to the legal guidelines of physics to see how they fare.
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