Even mighty Jupiter has a cloud of asteroids. The strength of a planet’s slingshot forces decrease as it gets farther from the sun. Earth wouldn’t clear the debris way out in Pluto’s neighborhood, Runyon wrote.
So he co-authored and proposed a new definition with scientist Alan Stern, the principal investigator for NASA’s Pluto flyby.
“Among planetary scientists, almost no one considers it anything but laughable,” Stern said. “The astronomers went into an area they don’t own or know very much about, and they made a mess of it.”
Here lies the rift over the Pluto identity: on one side, astronomers, and on the other, planetary scientists.
I smell fodder a new slashdot poll coming out of this.