PRAGUE-On August 24th, 2006, yet another piece of our embarrassingly fragile childhood was destroyed. At a meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Prague, a clear majority of astronomers voted for a definition of the term "planet" that left poor Pluto out of the prestigious group. This decision, however, was largely seen by the public as being a "dick move." Now, after nearly six years of scrutiny, those very same astronomers are attempting to redeem themselves.
"Contrary to what people might think, we do listen to what they're saying, and we do care," said astronomer Carl Glass, PhD. "You have to remember, Pluto was a big part of our childhood too." Currently, astronomers from around the world, including Dr. Glass, are huddled into a very small, very poorly lit room, debating whether or not to make the name change a permanent thing.
If the vote passes, the planet currently known as Neptune will be given the much cooler and more widely liked name, Pluto. "We all felt so bad back then, knowing what we did to poor Pluto, especially since it hadn't done anything to us, besides orbit peacefully millions of miles away," Dr. Glass continued. "But now who doesn't like a good underdog story, huh?"
The decision to allow voting on the renaming of the less-popular Neptune was likely inspired by the recent Triceratops fiasco. Paleontologists have come to the conclusion that the Triceratops was actually the juvenile form of the Torosaurus, which had previously been thought to be just a close relative. "Yeah, our bad guys," said renowned Paleontologist, Dr. Mark Zeffer.
"What we're choosing to not tell the media," Dr. Zeffer went on, "is that, technically, the Triceratops was discovered first, so really we're not doing any name changing here. The Torosaurus was the one that never really existed after all. We just wanted to make us out to be the good guys for a change, especially after how things turned out with the Brontosaurus," he said, cringing. "Wait, we did agree that this would be off the record, right?" Dr. Zeffer had no further comment.
So this all begs the question, if Neptune is to become the new Pluto, what will we call what was formerly known as Pluto? There are of course those who feel the dwarf planet should be given the name Neptune, as a kindness, but there are still others who feel that those people are total dumbshits. "Nobody ever liked Neptune," said fourth grader Kenny McKinney. "Isn't that why they're going to rename it?"
Surprisingly, little Kenny was right on the money. When asked why astronomers chose Neptune, instead of other unpopular planets such as Mercury and Venus, Dr. Glass had only this to say: "Nobody really liked Neptune. We took a vote and it was unanimous - Neptune had to go."
An internet naming contest is currently underway for the former Pluto, sponsored by the IAU. As of press time, the leading vote getter is "Colbert." The famous Comedy Central host and his nation of followers have once again highlighted the pointlessness of internet democracy. Although, if the IAU is anything like NASA, they'll probably just disregard the whole voting thing and go with something stupid like "Juno" or "Tranquility."