Pluto, plutoids.. and telescopes

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) attempt to spare Pluto’s blushes after its 2006 annus horribilis – by defining all transneptunian dwarf planets as plutoids – hasn’t gone down well with those still honking for its return to full planet status, as the BBC reports here.

Alan Stern, a former Nasa space sciences chief and principal investigator on a mission to Pluto, was scathing in his condemnation of the IAU. “It’s just some people in a smoke-filled room who dreamed it up,” he told the Associated Press. “Plutoids or haemorrhoids, whatever they call it. This is irrelevant.”

Meanwhile, Phoenix has, finally, got an oven full of Martian soil.. And, speaking of optics, NASA have launched a new space telescope – The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope GLAST. All of which, telescopes included, allows me to quote from Robert Hooke’s preface to his 1665 publication Micrographia

‘Tis not unlikely, but that there may be yet invented several other helps for the eye, as much exceeding those already found, as those do the bare eye, such as we may perhaps be able to discover living Creatures in the Moon, or other Planets, the figures of the compounding Particles of matter, and the particular Schematisms and Textures of Bodies.