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Will Pluto become a planet?

  1. May 9, 2014 #1
    Hi Guys!

    Is there any chance for Pluto to clean up it's orbit and become a big boy someday?

    Thanks a lot.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2014 #2


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  4. May 9, 2014 #3


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  5. May 9, 2014 #4
    Probably, but you won't be around for it :).
  6. May 9, 2014 #5
    Yes, I've already checked those. The thing that I was thinking, Earth's orbit was filled with small rocks, too... Even maybe dust... Within the years They came together and made a bigger object. One day that object came to a size that it can clear everything on its path.

    I was wondering could a similar scenario happen in the future on Pluto's orbit?
  7. May 10, 2014 #6
    I'm not well informed on the dynamics of the Solar System. With that said perhaps you need to question a few of your assumptions. Your first assumption is that if Pluto acquired mass, that the collisions will be small enough so that its reasonable to identify the post collisional object as being "the same" as the pre-collisional object (ie Pluto).
    That is, you assume that if another planet will form (at roughly the radius of Pluto) that it will BE Pluto. The other assumption (which has little merit, imho) is that we know enough about the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud to make good calculations of the probabilities involved. I don't think that is correct. (I assume that your use of the term "could" implies you understand that probabilities are involved, since of course it would be trivial to construct a scenario adjusted so that the result is as you describe and still be constrained by what we now know to be possible (which means it would largely be unconstrained). I was just reading about Mars and why it is so small. We think its likely to be older than Earth and yet its much smaller. Why that is is under intense investigation. All of the major planets formed quickly. So, for Pluto2 taking 10 billion years to form would make it difficult to include with the "big boys", just on logical grounds. The other issue is how it would go about "clearing its orbit" if its orbital zone has a practically inexhaustable supply of dust, rocks (ice), etc. replenishing it. We will have to have much better knowledge of what the net gain/loss is in the far reaches of the Solar System before any dynamical model we come up with today can be put to the test. Keep in mind that formation of the big boys had to have been a fantastic display of massive planetessimals colliding and shattering one another. Also, keep in mind that our BEST dynamical calculations get fuzzier and fuzzier as we "fast forward" them. A couple billion years from now, we can only GUESS what the Solar System will look like. (For instance, there is a fair chance that Mercury will not be anywhere close to where it is now.)
    Bottom line: we don't know enough to give you a good answer, but I doubt if many expect it to happen. Again, this is my take, but I certainly do not claim to have any particular competence here.
  8. May 12, 2014 #7
    Thanks for all replies!
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