If someone wanted to say they wanted to demote Neptune, do you think people would care? Do you think anyone would give any attention at all? No. They would say fine. The scientists need to do it, fine. Pluto, they learned about Pluto as kids. Pluto was the ninth planet. The littlest planet. You learn about Pluto around the same time in life that you are watching cartoons and learning about Mickey’s dog Pluto. And the dog, and the cosmic object, of the same name, were discovered, the cosmic object was discovered in 1930, the dog with the same name was first sketched in 1930. So they have the same tenure in the hearts and minds of Americans. I polled Europeans and others from other continents over their concern over the demotion of Pluto. They didn’t care a rat’s ass. They didn’t care. They were intrigued by it, curious as to why, but nobody lost sleep, no one was driven to write editorials on it. It all happened in America. And I though maybe it was because Pluto was discovered by an American. Maybe we just have a little bit of a jingoistic attitude towards it. Clyde Tombaugh in the 1930’s. And I asked them, do you know who discovered Pluto? No. do you know what the nationality of the person who discovered Pluto? No. Nine out of ten people who felt strongly about Pluto did not that an American had discovered it. So that couldn’t be the reason. So I just blame Disney. It’s that simple.
Called by the Universe: Neil deGrasse Tyson