Activists Say Astronomical Ruling Could Give Unfair Advantage To Larger Planets
At the International Astronomical Union today in Prague, experts furiously debated -- at times throwing large paper mache models of planets at each other -- a resolution that would revise the definition of a planet to include at least three new planets in the Milky Way galaxy.
The resolution was heavily favored by protestors outside the conference, who demanded that restrictions be eased so as not to favor the "Big Ball Orbs" and give the smaller heavenly bodies a level playing field on which to compete.
"Do we want to see happen to our solar system what has happened to small town USA?" asked Devin Kurtchner, janitor at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. "All of the little guys are being pushed out by the big names like Jupiter and Saturn, and before you know it, we'll only have three or four major players. while all the planets that we grew up with become a thing of the past."
"Mars, Pluto -- planets we know and love for sticking with it and never giving up despite their small stature will be no more," agreed an avid fan of the movie "Rudy". "And guess what else is on the 'too small' list? Earth. That was the fat cats' goal, don't you get it? It was Earth all along!"
"Damn you," he sobbed, kneeling down on his kitchen floor. "Damn you all to hell."
Some have even gone so far as to suggest that all planets be declared the exact same size, to avoid making any one planet feel bad about itself.
"This way, everyone wins!" beamed Stuart Samuels, chairman of the Committee To Make Everyone Feel Special (CTMEFS). "Yeah! You did it!"
But while small-planet supporters are hoping to see the IAU ease restrictions on the criteria that constitute a planet, many say the addition of new, "immigrant" planets would be strange and un-Milky-Wayian.
"What's wrong with the way it's always been?" asked Janna Bonsworth of Platteville, WI. "It's just like liberals to go and start questioning the things we know to be true and getting everyone riled up about whether or not drugs should be legal, if gays can marry, if there aren't actually nine planets -- it's the media, and it's all lies."
"I sure as shit don't like the idea of some new damn planet coming in to my galaxy, taking up my space with its gravity and who the hell knows what else," agreed Villahermosa, Mexico resident Roberto Martinez. "Either those eggheads come up with a resolution that keeps our nine planets the way they are, or me and some other guys are going to go up there and start patrolling our borders ourselves."
Other parties agree that an expansion or reduction of the galaxy would harm them, such as many parents groups and educational systems that are up in arms over the increasingly real possibility of having to tell heartbroken children that Pluto is, in fact, no more than a renegade space rock, and not the mysterious planet furthest from the sun.
"If you thought it was bad telling your kids that Dr. Seuss died or that Scrappy the family puppy just got run over by a wheat thresher, just wait until you see the crestfallen look in their eyes when you have to break the news to them that Pluto is not a planet, and that their faith in science has been baseless all along," said Dr. Donald Ratner, school psychologist. "On the other hand, if Pluto is allowed to remain a planet but with other planets added after it, all the posters from museum gift shops and dioramas made for science class will be wrong, and have to be thrown away."
Ratner concluded, "We petition the UIA, if not in the name of science, to disband the council for the sake of the children."
Most children polled did not have an opinion on the UIA or its debate, but their parents were quick to explain what they believed their children thought and how they were being hurt from the furor.