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02 August 2005 @ 04:39 pm
Silliest of the new standards for defining a planet comes from Brian Marsden of the Minor Planet Center:

he says people should accept that "we have eight planets and only an object bigger than Mars could be considered to be a planet in the future".

Now, I could see a case for "there's tons of minor planets out there, and we made a mistake in including Pluto because we thought it was much larger. To be a planet any body will have to be at least as big as the smallest of the classical planets, Mercury." It's still pretty arbitrary but it has a certain historical resonance.

I could see a case for arbitrarily declaring anything beyond the gas giants as always just a KBO or Oort no matter their size.

But 'a planet is anything as large as Mars... except, um, Mercury' just seems completely illogical.
Capncaptain_boots on August 3rd, 2005 01:07 am (UTC)
It might have been a verbal stumble and the person meant to say 'Mercury' but 'Mars' came out instead and he missed it?
Lauratavella on August 3rd, 2005 05:44 am (UTC)
I don't think so; I can't find a link, but I saw another version of this quote where it was 'Mars, or even Earth'.