It's been 13 years since Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet – and fans of the celestial body are still not over it. Everyone, from children to respected astronomers, has argued that Pluto deserves the title of the ninth planet in our solar system. According to IFL Science, even the boss of NASA has become known as Team Planet Pluto.
At a FIRST Robotics event on August 23, 2019, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Pluto jokingly rejoined the planet. "Just so you know from my perspective that Pluto is a planet," he said in a clip broadcast by NASA TV. "I'm holding on to that, I learned it this way and committed myself to it."
My favorite sound byte of the day, which probably will not make it to TV. It came from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. As a Pluto backer, I appreciated that. # 9wx #PlutoLoversRejoice @JimBridenstine pic.twitter.com/NdfQWW5PSZ
̵1; Cory Reppenhagen (@CReppWx)  on August 23, when listening to this soundbite , it is easy to be confident about the planetary status of Pluto. However, NASA does not set the standards for planets in our solar system: the International Astronomical Union (IAU). On August 24, 2006, the organization announced that Pluto is failing to meet the new criteria for defining true planets. According to IAU, a planet should orbit the Sun, be spherical due to gravity, and be the dominant body in its orbit. Although Pluto fulfills these first two requirements, its orbit overlaps that of Neptune, meaning that, technically speaking, it is not a planet in elementary school, according to the IAU. The amount of "free space" in its orbit, an indicator that distinguishes planets from asteroids, is not easy to measure, and it was rarely used to define planets prior to 2006.
Even though it is not official, Bridenstein's explanation should confirm least the many Pluto supporters who are still fighting for the dignity of the former planet.
[h/t IFL Science]