Okay, I was one of those kids in science classes who checked out the good looking guys and really didn’t pay much attention to the instructor. I took the absolute basic classes in high school and college and because my degree is in business and human resources, science was, well, blah to me.
Lately, however with climate change, global warming fanatics and those who feel the world will end on December 21, 2012 based on the Mayan calendar, I find myself paying a little more attention to the science around me.
Take planet GJ1214b—yep this is the name our astronomers have come up with. Although scientists have been aware of GJ1214b since 2009, according to an article posted on the Syfy Online Network which quotes astronomer Zachory Berta, "GJ1214b is like no planet we know of."
The article goes on to say GJ1214b is made of mostly of water and is “1.3 million miles from its native star and boils at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.” Thank goodness for that Hubble telescope eh?
Here’s my problem. If we’ve known about this planet since 2009, why pick on it by naming it GJ1214b? Every business owner understands the importance of branding right? May scientists aren’t so picky? They can’t sell planet GJ1214b but they can discuss it and offer incredible findings.
Wouldn’t it be much, much easier if they gave it a name we could all remember? Why not Pluto II? The planet Pluto really doesn’t exists as a true planet anymore—I blame Neil DeGrassi Tyson for this—although I love the guy! And, you can bet the farm he knows more than I do about the universe—he’s got a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Columbia and well, I don’t.
But back to branding. Remember the little rhyme we all learned in grade school to remember our planets? Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, etc.? I bet if I took a poll of my friends they’d all remember that rhyme. These days, the rhyme has changed because Pluto is gone really.
If planet GJ1214b was renamed Pluto II, when children learned and chanted the rhyme they could leave out the “II” part and just say “Pluto!” The world would be right again! I, at least would be in peace.
Science is not so much about branding—it’s about exploration and discovery so some of you may ask, “Who are you to rename planet GJ1214b?” And, you’d be right! I just find it tough to remember its name as it stands now.
I can imagine a conversation with a friend:
Me: Hey did you hear about the Super-Hot planet?
Friend: No, should I have?
Me: It’s really cool and the temperature on the surface is like over 450 degrees Fahrenheit!
Friend: What’s it called?
Me: Um, hmm, uh, I forget.
Friend: Get back with me when you know your stuff!
Don’t you see how the above conversation would be entirely different if I could say the planet is called Pluto II? Maybe my friend wouldn’t dismiss me as an idiot. Maybe we’d get into a deep discussion about Pluto II! Maybe we’d hop on down to the Discovery Store and buy a telescope! We’d become mini-scientists, exploring our stars and trying to find Pluto II while we shared a six-pack of Bud Light—maybe a twelve pack because we’d be sort of dumb if we thought we could actually find Pluto II from our Discovery Store purchase.
I guess I’ve rambled on enough about planet GJ1214b but I sure would like to know what you think. I mean don’t you miss Pluto? I sure do.
SyFy Online Network Story: Super-HotWaterworld is Entirely New Class of Planet
Image Credit: Planet GJ1214b / Wikimedia Commons / C.C. 3.0 License