Probe This!!

Neptune Proble

Neptune Probe (1998)

Ganymede Probe

Ganymede Probe (1998)

These heavenly bodies are still in good standing after astronomers recently convened to decide who would be voted off the cosmic island.

Everyone held its slot in space, and even Xena kicked some Van Allen Butt Belt — everyone except poor elliptical Pluto. Alas, we hardly knew ye. From National Geographic:

The distant, ice-covered world is no longer a true planet, according to a new definition of the term voted on by scientists today [8-24-06].

“Whoa! Pluto’s dead,” said astronomer Mike Brown, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, as he watched a Webcast of the vote. “There are finally, officially, eight planets in the solar system.”

In a move that’s already generating controversy and will force textbooks to be rewritten, Pluto will now be dubbed a dwarf planet.

But it’s no longer part of an exclusive club, since there are more than 40 of these dwarfs, including the large asteroid Ceres and 2003 UB313, nicknamed Xena — a distant object slightly larger than Pluto discovered by Brown last year.


Pluto has been demoted because it does not dominate its neighborhood. Charon, its large “moon,” is only about half the size of Pluto, while all the true planets are far larger than their moons.

In addition, bodies that dominate their neighborhoods, “sweep up” asteroids, comets, and other debris, clearing a path along their orbits. By contrast, Pluto’s orbit is somewhat untidy.

Yeah. Nothing’s worse than an untidy wannabe planet. Somebody get an industrial Dustbuster and sweep this galactic imposter under the heliosheath.

But more than science textbooks will have to be recalled faster than those spontaneous combustion laptop batteries. Popular culture itself will need to be reconstituted. Consider this tragic case:

I'm killing that Jetsons' mutt and changing my name to Astro.

Disneyologists argue that the Gang already includes a male dog, Goofy, who, like the other members, can walk and talk. Including a non-speaking quadrupedal character like Pluto would necessitate the inclusion of other insufficiently anthropomorphized animals such as background cats, birds, and humorous bees.

[Image seen on Jetting Through Life. Text from Tom the Dancing Bug by Ruben Bolling.]

Pluto’s downsizing will likely leave some astronomers scurrying to pawn their telescopes as their employment orbit decays faster than Hubble‘s. One victim will be 93-year-old Patricia Tombaugh, widow of Clyde Tombaugh, Pluto’s discoverer. Her reaction, according to MSNBC’s Cosmic Log:

“I don’t know just how you handle it. It kind of sounds like I just lost my job,” she told AP from Las Cruces, N.M. “But I understand science is not something that just sits there. It goes on. Clyde finally said before he died, ‘It’s there. Whatever it is. It is there.'”

There, huh. Now beat it. Half lights out, pal. We don’t want any. Sign up your planetary has-been behind for the no-flyby no-call (us-we-call-you) list.

Meanwhile, in an Orbit Trap exclusive, yr blogger — through my unnamed source I’ll call “Cosmic Dustball” — was able to obtain this exclusive webcam footage of some Plutonian freedom fighters reacting to the news of their planet’s solar system washout:

The revolution will not be hypercomplexed.

Mutiny on Pluto (2003)

We want to be a world and we want it now!!


I worry that my last post might render me as a somber anarchist out to bring down fractal civilization, so I thought I’d lighten up a little with this fatuous-free exercise in using fractal art to help spin an illustrated narrative.

Neptune: Generated in Tiera-Zon. Minimally post-processed.

Ganymede: Generated in Tiera-Zon. Minimally post-processed.

Mutiny: Generated in Fractal Zplot. Heavily post-processed.

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2 thoughts on “Probe This!!

  1. It will surely stay a one of the planet for Astrologists who, like everybody knows, are always up to date when planets and stars are about :-D!

  2. Uh-oh. I’ve blown my mystique. Time for a new alias. I’m thinking of changing my moniker to WereWimp.

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