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8 reasons Pluto should totally have planet status (pictures)

Scientists have demoted it to a dwarf. The nerve! If you're still dead set on calling Pluto one of the nine planets, here are the reasons why that's perfectly reasonable.

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CNET staff
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1 of 8 NASA

Say that to his face

Pluto, that distant heavenly body, is on every Earthling's lips this week, thanks to new pictures sent by the New Horizons spacecraft. And with those images, and old wound has been opened: The demoting of Pluto from "planet" to "dwarf planet" status in 2006.

Plenty of folks still count Pluto as a planet. And they have their reasons. For starters, New Horizons has confirmed that Pluto has mountains and water. The International Astronomical Union doesn't consider such traits when deciding what makes a planet ... but, given that a certain third rock from the sun also has mountains and water, maybe it should reconsider.

Here are even more reasons to count Pluto among the Big Nine ...

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2 of 8 NASA

Because technically ALL dwarf planets should be planets

Of the known trans-Neptunian objects, Pluto is among a subgroup that includes planet-like Ceres, Eris (which is bigger than Pluto) and Makemake. Many scientists argue that we should open up the floodgates, at least a little, and let a few more of those bodies into the official planet club.

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3 of 8 Michael Brown/Getty Images

Because Pluto fits two out of three requirements ... and the third requirement is kinda weak

To be a planet, a body needs to meet certain requirements, according to the International Astronomical Union.

Pluto orbits around the sun: check. Pluto has a round shape: check. But it hasn’t cleared its orbit of debris. Strike! Wait a minute, though: According to scientists, Jupiter and Earth technically violate rule No. 3 as well. And because Pluto is furthest from the sun, and dwells in a rotten neighborhood filled of debris, it gets the worst deal of them all. So cut Pluto some slack, International Astronomical Union!

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4 of 8 IAU/AFP/Getty Images

Because, seriously, it's just like Earth

Pluto has its own moon, known as Charon, and it’s geologically active, meaning its filled with things our planet is filled with, including rocks and ice. Again, the IAU cares nothing for such definitions, but its definition is extremely narrow.

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5 of 8 Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images

Because: Tradition

The word "planet" had a broader usage for a millennia before a group of astronomers narrowed down its meaning.

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6 of 8 Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images

Because barely 2% of the IAU actually voted to de-planetize Pluto

Out of around 10,000 internationally registered members of the Astronomical Union, only 237 members voted to reclassify Pluto as a “dwarf planet,” while 157 voted against the demoting in the General Assembly in Prague. The other 9,500-plus members weren’t even there!

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7 of 8 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Because Pluto is still largely undiscovered

The New Horizons mission will be the first to truly explore Pluto, whereas the other planets within our solar system have already been heavily researched. We still don’t know how Pluto formed, what its atmosphere is made of, if it has a magnetic field, or a subsurface ocean. How can you classify a heavenly body you don't really know?

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8 of 8 Win McNamee/Getty Images

Because the head of NASA still calls it a planet

If Charles Bolden, head of the American space agency, can still call Pluto a planet, so can you. “It's a big day for NASA,” Bolden said recently. “The U.S. today has become the first nation to visit every planet. We're calling Pluto a planet; technically it's a dwarf planet. I call it a planet, but I'm not the rule maker."

Not yet, anyway.

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