Sunday, July 31, 2005

The 10th Planet (Xena, no...Juno)

The tenth planet has been discovered, called Xena by it's TV influenced discoverers. There is a question as to whether this is a planet or a very large asteroid/Kuiper belt object. Since Pluto recently went through the same debate and emerged as a planet, this object will likely merit equal classification.

So welcome planet Xena and let's push to give it a better name. With planets named after Roman gods it seems a tasteless break with tradition to name one after a TV character, mostly males and a few females liked to watch.

So from now I will refer to it as Planet Juno. Juno was the queen of the gods and was often found far from Jupiter who seemed to go gallivanting around without her. She was considered somewhat cold, so this planet's great distance from Jupiter would fit with the myths. NASA is proposing a mission to Jupiter by the same name but that won't detract from its being appropriate for this new planet.

I suspect the push for Juno might go nowhere fast, but Xena is simply ridiculous. I suspect the name selection will even discount the scientists credibility as they push for planet recognition.

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