In 2000, the Rose Center for Earth and Space opened with a giant model of the solar system as its centerpiece. But something was different about the mega-sized mobile—Pluto was missing. When the New York Times mentioned the missing piece, people started saying, “Hey! What gives?” Six years later, Pluto was officially stripped of its planetary status by the International Astronomical Union, demoting it to “dwarf planet.”
The biggest brouhaha, though, came from teams of elementary school students, who flooded Director Neil deGrasse Tyson’s desk with hate mail. Here’s what some of them had to say, loosely following the five stages of grief.
Dear Natural History Museum, You are missing planet Pluto. Please make a model of it. This is what it looks like. It is a planet. Love, Will Galmot (Seven years old)
Dear Mr. Tyson, I think Pluto is a planet. Why do you think Pluto is no longer a planet? I do not like your anser!!! Pluto is my faveret planet!!! You are going to have to take all of the books away and change them. Pluto is a planet!!!!!!! Your friend, Emerson York
Dear scientest, What do you call Pluto if its not a planet anymore? If you make it a planet agian all the science books will be right. Do poeple live on Pluto? If there are poeple who live there they won’t exist. Why can’t Pluto be a planet? If it’s small doesn’t mean that it doen’t have to be a planet anymore. Some poeple like Pluto. If it doen’t exist then they don’t have a favorite planet. Please write back, but not in cursive because I can’t read in cursive. Your friend, Madeline Trost
Dear Dr. Neil Tysen degrasse, At first, remember all of those kids that send you bad letters? Well, I want to apolijize all the things that we were wrong about. We’re sorry about giving you mean letters saying we love Pluto but not you. I’m very sorry. It’ll be ok. Taylor (Seven years old)
6. More Acceptance
Dear Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, I know how you feel. We feel the same about Pluto not being a planet. I’m to but we just have to get over it—that’s science. We to learn about science. Science will make you smart! Love! Siddiq (Eight years old)
May it revolve in peace.