[extropy-chat] Re: SPACE: new planet?

Harvey Newstrom mail at HarveyNewstrom.com
Sat Feb 21 21:20:58 UTC 2004

Mike Lorrey wrote,
> It is actually rather easy to define a planet:
> a) it has its own independent orbit around the sun, and,
> b) its own internal gravity has caused it to be round

I agree that this is a simple definition that works.  People can nitpick the
wording to get it right, but the meaning is clear.  For "a", I would say it
orbits the sun instead of another planet.  For "b", it could be defined by a
specific roundness measurement, or could be defined geologically as accreted
on its own into a round shape and not a piece broken off another planet.
Historically, the round planetoids are old and formed early, while the
non-round ones are more recent fragments from collisions

> Those who dislike this definition because it results in 'too 
> many' planets are obsessive compulsive neatniks who need to 
> get a grip.

Yes, but as a futurist and sci-fi buff, I like a lot of planets.  This is my
primary interest in the Kuiper-Belt Object.  They give us thousands of
planet(oid)s to explore that are close to earth without requiring
interstellar travel.  This is more planets than some Star Trek type sci-fi
envisioned for our region of the galaxy.

This is cool stuff!

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