PRAGUE (Reuters) - Pluto was stripped of its status as a planet on Thursday when scientists from around the world redefined it as a "dwarf planet", leaving just eight classical planets in the solar system.
The need to define what it takes to be a planet stems from technological advances that enable astronomers to look further into space and to measure more precisely the size of celestial bodies in our solar system.
Oh well. At least the ghost of Gustav Holtz will be pleased with this ruling. Pluto wasn't even discovered until twelve years after he wrote his "Planets" suite. Now, for the first time since 1930, it can be considered a finished symphony.
If I was in charge of Toobworld, rather than just a caretaker, I would have had the Red Stripe Beer Man approach the podium at the televersion of this gathering of astrophysicists. He would stand there, resplendent in his white military jacket adorned with sash and medals, and say to the assembly:
"Boo Creepy Pluto Naysayers!"
For those of you disheartened by the news that Pluto has lost its status as a planet, take heart. This was a transient, man-made decision; an artificial construct much like the demarcation of Time. And such a ruling can be undone in the future by a different assemblage of scientists using some new, arbitrary set of rules.
So have patience, fans of Pluto. Ti-i-i-ime is on your side. (Yes, it is.)
At least it is in Toobworld.
By the 24th Century, Pluto will have been colonized, as will most of the planets in solar system. All of them will have been terra-formed and some of the outermost planets will have artificial miniature "suns" locked into their orbits to provide the necessary heat an illumination which would be lacking from the distant Sol.
All of this advancement will be due to "help" from a race known as the Usurians (obviously the English translation, considering.....). The Usurians are a sentient but poisonous fungi which will slowly tighten its vice-like financial grip on the people of Pluto for nearly 3,000,000 years.
Their hold over Pluto will eventually end with the timely intervention of a Doctor, who will show the Plutonian populace that they have nothing to lose but their claims.
But in the beginning of its colonial period, all will be well with Pluto as it becomes a member of the Solar Council, otherwise known as the Solar Alliance. (In the Tooniverse, membership will be in D.O.O.P. - the Democratic Order Of Planets) Other member planets of the Solar Council are Mars, Pluto, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Eos and Earth, the Polaris Colony, and Jupiter's moon Io. (Oddly, Neptune is not represented. This is understandble in the Tooniverse - that killer Santa Claus robot lives there!)
(Another planet not represented in Solar Council is Mondas, which used to share the exact same orbit as Earth. Monda was equidistant from our homeworld, on the other side of Sol, so that it was "invisible" to astronomers But it was blasted out of its orbit and left the solar system, only to be destroyed when it began its return trip.)
So take heart, fans of Pluto! Eventually your little buddy in the outermost reaches of the solar system will be reincorporated into the League of Planets.
But in the meantime, you better dust off the old mnemonic for remembering the order of planets from the Sun......
Here are a list of shows which are set in the future and which refer to Pluto as an actual planet:
#17 "THE COUNTERFEIT COMMANDER" April 21, 1951
# 19 "THE MAJOR'S DILEMMA" May 5, 1951
# 25 "BEYOND THE RIM OF SPACE" June 16, 1951
# 30 "WAY STATION TO THE STARS" July 21, 1951
# 50 "THE SACRIFICE" December 8, 1951
# 68 "THE PHANTOM FLEET" April 12, 1952
#106 "THE HUMAN TARGETS" January 3, 1953
#189 "THE GIANTS OF PLUTO III" October 2, 1954
#190 "THE FIERY PIT OF PLUTO III" October 9, 1954
#191 "MANHUNT ON PLUTO III" October 16, 1954
Part One 26th November, 1977
Part Two 3rd December, 1977
Part Three 10th December, 1977
Part Four 17th December, 1977
The TV shows cited for this essay are:
'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet'
'Captain Video And His Video Rangers'
This essay would not have been possible if not for the information... information... information garnered from the following web sites:
The Doctor Who Reference Guide
Doctor Who Chronology