Monday, February 8, 2010

Pluto Undaunted

In fifth grade science, they are learning about space, and in the course of discussion, the topic of Pluto's demotion from planetdom has come up time and again. Some believe it should still be a planet, others are all right with what the scientist say while a small few couldn't care less one way or another.

In the meantime, Pluto seems unfazed by what scientist have proclaimed it to be. In an article about Hubble's newest pictures of Pluto, it seems scientist are staggered over the changes going on with the semi-planet. It's seems the colors are deepening, turning redder. Perhaps it's angry over what people have been saying about it?

Seasons on Pluto can last almost 300 years. Its orbit takes it far from the sun, then slowly swings a bit closer again so it has its "warmer" season. Like all other planets, it rotates in a revolution type of dance around the solar system. Yet, because it doesn't quiet measure up, or meet the standard that we- mere chaff in the wind- have designed, we've declared this to no longer be counted along when the other "planetary greats."

How many times do we find ourselves, our dreams of who we are, demoted according to the world's standards? It starts at such a young age. Child brings in watercolor masterpiece, with brilliant reds and blues dripping over the clean floor. That child, instead of praised for their creativity, is chastised for the mess they have made.

Throughout life, one criticism after another chips away our dreams of who we someday hope to be until we settle for something safe. Something acceptable. Something that won't be so challenged.

It's not intentional, these dream crushing incidents. It just happens. And dreams are so fragile anyway, ever changing, small and obscure, like the tiny blue planet, Pluto. So easy to be disregarded.

"What do you like to do?"

"Oh, I like to write stories." or "I love to paint."

"No, not your hobby. I want to know what you do."

To say, "I create. I was born to create. It's what my Father is best at and I want to follow in his foot steps." This simply isn't always acceptable. It doesn't fit the world's standards.

"Why are you cutting out all those paper pieces and making a big mess all over the place?" I've asked my son in irritation.

"I needed more soldiers," he shrugs.

And I stop, closing my worldly eyes so that my artist vision can come into focus. I begin to see the stern tiny crayoned faces. The uniform's bright colors. The form of creased bodies.

"Oh, I see."

Even artist can dash the dreams of others and we of all people should know better. I think we do. It's not intentional. We simply forget, we drift too far away from our light source. We grow cold with the world's demands and standards, wanting to blend in, to conform and be like everyone else.

Yet, our Master Creator didn't use a mould to construct this world. Each snowflake is different. No two leaves alike on the same tree. We ourselves are fashioned to where we are completely original in our design, our DNA.

No, I have no desire to be like the status quo. It's not my Father's way and I must constantly be diligent to not allow it to become my way. Let me be like Pluto, rotating and revolving in a slow dance along the path line God has set me on. Let me close my ears to the decrees and dream shattering statements of my world around me. May I stay my course, knowing and understanding that sometimes it'll seem to draw me away from the light's warmth, but I will always dance my way back again, changing and reforming along the way.

Yet I will still be the me He created me to be.

This is what God the Lord says-- he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: "I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand." Isa. 42:5-6


  1. There are many scientists, including professional astronomers, who oppose the demotion of Pluto and still view it as a planet. Please make sure the kids are informed of this. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. One reason the IAU definition makes no sense is it says dwarf planets are not planets at all! That is like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear, and it is inconsistent with the use of the term “dwarf” in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another is essentially useless. Pluto is a planet because it is spherical, meaning it is large enough to be pulled into a round shape by its own gravity--a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets, not of shapeless asteroids held together by chemical bonds. These reasons are why many astronomers, lay people, and educators are either ignoring the demotion entirely or working to get it overturned.

  2. Wow, thanks Laurel. I always tell kids that science facts are generally theories and have often changed over time. So even though it's said that Pluto has been demoted, that doesn't mean that 10 years from now, the scientist wont decide differently.
    I appreciate your facinating comment. Thanks again.


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