Aug. 27, 2006 -- Bill Nye the Science Guy is here to buck up all of us who already miss the planet Pluto.
Bill Nye: We're calling it a dwarf planet. I like the term "ice dwarf." … These are the objects smaller than, let's say, 1,500 kilometers … made of ice. … Ice dwarf -- there it is: It's icy, it's small, it's out there.
If you brought Pluto close to the sun, like where Mercury is, it would have a tail like a comet and in a few millennia, it would volatize. It would just disappear into space. … I mean, is that worthy of a planet -- a planet that just evaporates? For crying out loud.
That we have to change the name, I think, is fantastic. It shows people the process of science. We learn more about other objects in the solar system and we rethink it, so we give it a new label. If we have to learn another dozen dwarf/ice-dwarf/icy object/ultra-Neptunian-object names, it's going to be fine. It's going to be a big party. Its going to be lovely.
I think it's great that kids have to learn something new.
Furthermore, the teachers that present the material have to learn something new. And just that there's an outcry about this object that's so fantastically distant, much smaller than our moon, that there's this outcry about it I think is great. It gets people thinking about what it means to live on a planet, to live in the cosmos and be part of the universe, and what it means to try and understand these points of light in the night sky.