Former Planet Earth Now Really an Asteroid

Public domain image (NASA) available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Earth-Moon_System.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Earth-Moon_System.jpg.

When Pluto was demoted from a planet to a cartoon character, nobody really cared.1 But now that the same thing has happened to our own planet, we’re all very upset. Last week, the International Astronomical Congress decreed, by a 57-40 vote, that what was formerly known as the planet Earth will now be known as the asteroid Earth. Interplanetery Entertainment will begin a series of graphic novels® featuring a clever, but self-destructive pig named Earth.

This demotion has, understandably, upset quite a few citizens of asteroid Earth. During an emotional, hour-long interview, Amy Knudson told Ryan Rocifero:

I’m really so distressed about this decision. I mean, it makes me question my place in the universe, my purpose for living, even wonder what I am. If I don’t even live on a planet anymore, I’m really not sure whether being human has any value.

Raymond Whiting, Executive Secretary of the International Astronomical Congress, explains the reasoning that led to this decision:

As time progresses and our astronomical knowledge becomes more precise, we must define and redefine our terms. For a long time, nobody, not even astronomers, knew what the word planet meant. It was only in 2006 that the International Astronomical Union defined the meaning of the word. This definition excluded Pluto, of course, and caused a lot of excitement and turmoil among astronomers around the world. However, in the last few years, we’ve come to realize that the 2006 definition was imprecise. Think about it: What does a wet, rocky, fairly small body like Earth have in common with an enormous ball of gas like Jupiter. That’s a real planet. So, we showed those goons at the International Astronomical Union that we know better than they do what makes a planet, and published what we expect to be the final definition. It was a thrilling moment in astronomical history.


Photo courtesy of NASA.

  1. Except, of course, for the International Society for Plutocracy.

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