Perpetually exiled from the cool kids’ table, Pluto is finally making some news since its demotion to “dwarf planet” six years ago. Scientists have recently discovered a new moon orbiting the former planet, resuscitating the debate surrounding Pluto’s reduced status.
As reported by Time, the moon, referred to as P4, is anywhere from 8 to 21 miles in diameter and was captured with the Hubble Telescope as scientists were checking ahead for possible dangers to the New Horizons probe, which is currently on its way toward the loneliest lunch table in space. While the probe will not pass Pluto until 2015, the discovery has opened the door to the possibility of other moons and bodies orbiting the ex-planet, which may have been created by an age-old collision.
The debate still lingers as to the legitimacy of the IAU’s striking Pluto from the planetary roster and has become something of a subjective argument amongst the general astronomic community. Regardless of its status, Pluto still has relevance as it lingers at the edge of our solar system and there is no reason why astronomers shouldn’t be keeping an eye on things. It might not bear life, but that doesn’t mean it won’t stand up and surprise the galactic lunchroom as the probe closes in. Who knows, they just might let the little guy back on the team.