I was reading space.com during lunch today. I was very happy to see my two favorite dwarf planets getting a little respect from the scientific community. (yeah, I am that much a geek.)
First, the top story of the day: Could Life on Earth Have Come From Ceres? By Lee Pullen, Astrobiology Magazine, posted: 05 March 2009 08:02 am ET
That’s right, our favorite resident of the asteroid belt getting a little attention. Sure, there is probably more water on that tiny little spec of a dwarf planet than on Earth so why shouldn’t we be postulating all sorts of groovy theories about what goes on there. I bet you a dollar* there are microbes in the mantle.
So then we scan further down the list of recent stories and we see this one: Pluto’s Atmosphere Warmer Than Thought By Clara Moskowitz, Staff Writer, posted: 04 March 2009 05:05 pm ET
Turns out our much maligned former ninth planet has a pretty cool atmosphere and that atmosphere is actually warmer than the surface of the planet. Not bad, eh? Sorta makes you want to take that IAU planetary definition and stuff it up someone’s icy core, don’t it? Yeah, that Eris dwarf planet doesn’t look quite so hot now, does it.
Sorry… I for some reason think these little dwarf planets are extra cool. Only because we all know the eight big planets all look down on them and act mean toward them just because they are small, or far away, or their orbit crosses Neptune’s or some shit like that. I love these guys. Ceres, Pluto, Makemake, Haumea, and even Eris who started the whole debate that got Pluto demoted. While I’m at it, let’s add Pluto’s moon Charon into this little astronomy love fest. Charon and Pluto are close enough in mass that the center point of their orbit is actually in the empty space between them. They aren’t a planet and a moon, they are a duel planetary system. Let’s see any other bodies in hydrostatic equilibrium pull off that trick. Damn straight!
See? There, I did it again. Sorry everyone.
* The dollar in question is of course an Internet Dollar as defined on the show South Park. In other words, if life exists in the water beneath the crust of Ceres I owe you nuttin. Thanks