Follow TV Tropes


Pluto Is Expendable

Go To
…and while they were arguing, the Borg came and ate it.

"What is this, a model of Pluto? That planet doesn't even exist anymore, you moron!"
Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb

Pluto has become the Butt-Monkey of the solar system, and not just because it's named for the Butt-Monkey of the Greek-Roman pantheon of gods. Want to get someone's attention? Show that things are serious? That a villain can put his money where his mouth is? Screw the status quo! This time, change is happening, and it's something big! Something cosmic! Something on a large-scale level that would shock the world if it happened in Real Life! A change that will alter the universe!, well, at least the galaxy... The solar system?

What do you mean Reed Richards Is Useless? What can we alter about the universe that would be a big deal without being a big deal? It's not like we can blow up a planet...

Wait! What about one of those planets floating around the edge of the solar system? That insignificant, dark, icy one with one giant and four minuscule satellites — no one will miss that. It wasn't even important enough to be called a real planet. What was its name again?

Never mind. Let's blow it up!

The reason Pluto was downgraded from a planetnote  to a dwarf planet is based on the 2006 formalization of the definition.note  To qualify, an astronomical body has to have four characteristics:

  1. It's in orbit around a star or stellar remnant;
  2. It's big enough to be spherical from its own gravity;
  3. It's not so big that thermonuclear fusion has begun (in other words, it's not a star);
  4. It has cleared its orbit of all similar-sized objects.
When the definition was finalized, it was quickly found that Pluto fails the fourth criterion, as it is very similar in size, composition, and orbit to hundreds of other objects in a region of space called the Kuiper Belt. Ironically, Pluto is still one of the most valuable objects for exploration, since it's the closest Kuiper Belt object and can provide science with information about the solar system's formation. So much so, New Horizons (which was launched in January 2006, seven months before the IAU worked its magic) flew past the planetoid in July 2015.

That might have changed when the first clear picture of Pluto taken by New Horizons revealed a large heart formation on its surfacenote  making it an internet sensation and possibly the most adorable (dwarf) planet ever. Indeed other images from the same spacecraft have shown Pluto is far from being a dead world covered with craters, instead having large — for its size — mountains, what seem to be dunes, and complex surface features that show (at least past) geological activity.note 

See also Throwaway Country. Not to be confused with Mickey's dog. We hope. For the Roman God Pluto being kicked around, see Death Is a Loser.

On the other hand, one might be inclined to wonder how it relates to the death of Meio Setsuna...

Compare Insignificant Little Blue Planet for the self-inflicted version, and Uranus Is Showing for another planet that's... a different kind of Butt-Monkey.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon: Pluto hasn't exactly had the most comfortable career as a Sailor; it gets lonely guarding the Gates of Time after a few centuries. Pluto's demotion as a planet became a joke among the Sailor Moon fandom. Ironically, the original manga had a Sailor Ceres among a group of asteroid-based Sailors. Like Pluto, Ceres is now considered a dwarf planet (see the Real Life section).
  • In Getter Robo Armageddon, when a Negative Space Wedgie gets formed in the final moments of the series, Pluto naturally gets sucked in. This is right after the Getters had just destroyed Jupiter and three of its moons with THE Getter Tomahawk.
  • Subverted in Remina, as the titular Planet Eater Cosmic Horror may eat it first, but then proceeds in a few weeks to eat every other planet in turn (including Jupiter, despite it being much larger than Remina), from outermost to innermost. And by the time it enters our solar system, it's already eaten several other stars and presumably their planets. And then it gets to Earth...
  • In Dragonaut: The Resonance Pluto is destroyed when the Eldritch Abomination Thanotos plows right through it on its way to Earth.
  • Sgt. Frog has a Plutonian native visit Earth in one episode. Her species needs to be remembered to exist, and its downgraded status is causing them to vanish. She doesn't succeed in the end, and is forgotten.
  • Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE introduces the PLANETS system, with the hero's Core Gundam able to switch between whole sets or parts of addon armor systems, and as the name indicates, they are all named for planets of the solar system. By the end of season 1, we've seen Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter; by the series finale, they've added Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune. That's all.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Our Worlds at War DC Comics miniseries, Brainiac manages to take over Pluto, hollow it out, and turn it into a brand new Warworld. All without being noticed by the many and various interstellar agencies on Earth, Darkseid and his lieutenants on Apokolips (somehow relocated to the same solar system by Darkseid's badassery), or Imperiex and his many many miniaturized forms. It apparently stays that way until the 31st century, becoming a plot-point in Legion of Super-Heroes. Although there's been a Crisis Crossover or four since then, and that version of the Legion isn't the main future anymore, so it's probably been quietly forgotten.
  • In DC One Million, many of the planets in the solar system have been converted into pleasant living spaces. Pluto, on the other hand, is a maximum-security asylum for the solar system's worst criminals, overseen by the 853rd century's version of Batman.
  • In the 2008 Virgin Comics revival of the classic 1950s British space hero Dan Dare, written by Garth Ennis, Pluto is destroyed by a "tamed" black hole controlled by Dare's nemesis, the Mekon. Since the series takes place in the "present" of Dan Dare's retroactive alternate history timeline, the destruction may have been a tongue-in-cheek spoof of Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet status in 2006.
  • Defied (in more ways than one) in Trinity. When John Stewart arrives (almost) late to stop an alien spacecraft from crashing on a city, he mentions in narration that he was delayed because he was stopping a comet from destroying Pluto.
    Stewart: [in narration] It's still a planet to me.
  • Epically subverted in Saturn versus Earth: Pluto is immensely rich in radium, and getting its hands on it would allow Rebo to become a Galactic Conqueror, with his attack on Earth being motivated simply by the fact our world is a convenient staging ground for a surprise attack against his real goal. After the Earthlings expose the truth to the Plutonians the latters fade from the story but remain crucial to the plot, as their radium is the only reason Earth can now fight the Saturnians on an even field.

    Comic Strips 

    Eastern European Animation 
  • KikoRiki: In "Pluto's Hero", resident Mad Scientist Dokko goes on a hunger strike after learning of Pluto's demotion. This draws the Plutonians' attention, who plan to take him with them before they destroy Earth, but he manages to talk them out of it...for a while, at least.

    Fan Works 
  • Eeloo, Expy of Pluto in Kerbal Space Program, gets a very brief mention in The Next Frontier; turns out the Kerbals accidentally obliterated it while testing their new Alcubierre Drive.
  • In Shinji And Warhammer 40 K Kaworu uses Pluto for a Colony Drop on Lilith.
    It wasn't as if anyone would care. Pluto was no longer a planet anyway.
  • Unity (pink_shoes): Midway through the story, Pluto is eaten by Unicron. Red Alert is subsequently puzzled by how much humans care about the dwarf planet and the uptick in hate mail the Autobots are receiving after they announced its destruction.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Chicken Little, if you look very closely at the aliens' map of the Solar System, Pluto appears to be the first to be crossed out. The movie was released just one year before Pluto's demotion.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • The novel Before Dishonor: The Borg, using a new technology that lets a huge advanced cube directly absorb matter, basically eat it. This "settles the debate," which had gone back and forth three or four times in the last four hundred years.
    • And, from Peter David's earlier novel Imzadi, discussing a high-powered ground-to-air weapon:
      "Model I blew up during field testing and destroyed half of Pluto. No one cared — it was a boring planet anyway... I'm kidding, Lieutenant."
  • Subverted in Red Dwarf. Humanity decides to turn one of the nine planets into a gigantic rubbish dump, with a Eurovision Song Contest style contest deciding the loser. It comes down to a fight between Earth and Pluto. Earth loses and becomes a literal Crapsack World.
  • In Larry Niven's book World of Ptavvs, Pluto is set on fire by a spaceship's exhaust flame.
  • In Roger MacBride Allen's The Ring of Charon Pluto is used to create a wormhole to a multisystem to which the Earth was abducted.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Luna Lovegood fights Death Eaters in a room containing models of several planets. She then uses a Reductor Curse to blow up the model of Pluto as a distraction.
  • Turns out there's an alien prison inside Pluto in Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit – Will Travel.
  • In Perry Rhodan universe Pluto got destroyed in 3438 as collateral damage in the final showdown of the series' The Cappins story arc. (One of the more classic examples — when that issue was printed and sold, nobody had the slightest clue yet that Pluto's status as a planet would be called into question over thirty years later.)
  • Averted in a young adult novel titled No Passengers Beyond This Point in which a little girl views Pluto's demotion as representative of things being unstable and shifting — she's clearly psychologically bugged by it.
  • In Stink: Solar System Superhero, Stink fails a test about the planets when Judy teaches him the "My Very Educated Mother Just Ate Nine Pizzas" mnemonic to help him remember the name of the planets, blissfully unaware that Pluto has been reclassified. Despite getting all of the other planets right, he gets a big red X on his paper. Then he and a classmate start developing new mnemonics, like "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nothing."
  • In Rosemary Wells's book and the Animated Adaptation of "Emily's First 100 Days Of School" which has 100 pages which has events related to the number. Was the 8th page, where Emily and the other students tell how many planets for the Solar System. Pluto is included in it, this was made years before Pluto was no longer a planet.
  • The reason President Penguin attacks Squeakyville in the ninth Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot book is because their scientists no longer consider Pluto a planet.
  • In Nasuverse, each planet in our solar system has their own Ultimate One. Which includes Pluto who appears in Angel Notes as the first of the Types to die when it tries to invade Earth, albeit this is at the cost of the Six Sisters and Type-Pluto's blood covering the skies.
  • E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman universe has a variation on the theme, in which our hero is constructing an antimatter bomb of enormous size and is told he will need the mass of a small planet to do the job adequately. Instead of Pluto, he converts the entire mass of the Asteroid Belt instead (since it's already broken up into more easily manageable chunks).

    Live-Action TV 
  • When Jessie is carrying Emma's model of the solar system (her science fair project), she trips and Pluto falls off. During the judging of the science fair Emma wins, because the judges like that she remembered that Pluto is no longer a planet.
  • In the final season of Lexx, Stanley has the Lexx blow up Pluto, largely because it has been over a season since they've blown up any planets, and Lexx is getting antsy. They make a game out of it with Stanley having the Lexx "snipe" Pluto while near Earth; it doesn't require a full-power shot.
  • Sonny with a Chance: The cast of So Random is working on a model of the solar system. Sonny is about to tell her friends that she is dating Chad. However, since they were already mad at her for watching Mackenzie Falls, she can't go through with it. Instead, she insists on counting Pluto as a planet and Zora disagrees with her.
  • Stargate Atlantis: Neil deGrasse Tyson actually appeared as himself in one episode, where Rodney McKay proceeds to make fun of him.
    McKay: Hey at least I didn't de-classify Pluto from planet status. Way to make all the little kids cry, Neil, that make you feel like a big man?
  • Likewise, Dr. Tyson appears in The Big Bang Theory.
    Sheldon: I like Pluto, therefore, I don't like you.
  • On Psych, one of Burton "Gus" Guster's catchphrases is "Did you hear about Pluto? That's messed up!"
  • In the Doc Martin episode "Education, Education, Education", the student selected to be Pluto in an outdoors roleplaying of the Solar System ends up losing consciousness to Kawasaki Disease, sustained from an infection, and has to be rushed to hospital to save her life.
  • In an episode of The Thundermans, Billy and Nora find a box with a button labelled "Push to Destroy Pluto" in Max's Mad Scientist room. They push the button... and Pluto explodes. Of course, this happening so far away, the kids conclude that the gizmo isn't working.
  • Ultraman Dyna centres its Grand Finale on a hole in space sucking things in, with only Pluto being shown to vanish into it before Asuka makes a Heroic Sacrifice to close it.
  • CSI: NY: Zigzagged by the M.E. during the autopsy in "Yahrzeit." Sid finds 8 tattooed dots forming a square on the victim and shows them to Mac. As the two ponder what they could mean, Sid suggests they could represent the planets, but then adds, "'Course to me there'll always be nine; I'm kinda partial to Pluto."

  • Nellie McKay sings "As far as I'm concerned, Pluto's still a planet" in "Identity Theft", an ode to nonconformity, from the Obligatory Villagers CD.
  • Aesop Rock's "Bring Back Pluto" uses this as its central inspiration.
  • The song "I'm Your Moon" by Jonathan Coulton is about this trope in general (and the declassification specifically), from the viewpoint of Pluto's moon Charon. The idea is if Pluto can't be a planet, then Charon and Pluto can just be moons of each other forever... turning the whole thing into a sweet (if bizarre) love song.
  • The astronomers' decision not to consider Pluto a planet is one more reason to disregard Colin Matthews's irreverent appendix to Gustav Holst's The Planets.
  • "Requiem for Pluto" by 8bit bEtty is essentially a dirge for the former planet.
    Let's take a moment to bow our heads
    We've lost our dear friend Pluto
    I know he was not large
    and 4.6 billion miles is far away
    but we loved him.
  • 134340 Pluto by Cojum Dip that's sung from the viewpoint of the titular planet, expressing confusion and frustration at its new classification.
    My name was Pluto
    As a planet I was known
    What did I do
    To anger the unified IAU?
  • There is an actual Brazilian rock band called Plutão Já Foi Planeta, which is Portuguese for "Pluto Has Already Been a Planet". One of their songs, "Você Não É Mais Planeta" ("You Are a Planet no More") begins with this:
    Eu de Marte, tu de Plutão note 
    Eu planeta, você não note 

  • Inverted in Fatimah Asghar's poem "Pluto Shits on the Universe".
    My name means hell, bitch. I am hell, bitch. All the cold
    you have yet to feel. Chaos like a motherfucker.
    And you tried to order me. Called me ninth.
    Somewhere in the mess of graphs and math and compass
    you tried to make me follow rules. Rules? Fuck your
    rules. Neptune, that bitch slow. And I deserve all the sun
    I can get, and all the blue-gold sky I want around me.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Referenced by Scion when talking about old Hades/Pluto. Hades isn't a happy camper at the downsize of the planet that uses his name.
  • In Bleak World we have the Court of Darkness who was located on Pluto and was also the first (and so far only) court to be destroyed.
  • Whle Pluto is never destroyed in Warhammer 40,000, it is typically the first stop for anyone trying to invade the Solar System. In fact the very first battle of the Solar War (part of the Horus Heresy) took place on Pluto as it was attacked by the Alpha Legion - and it stuck with Chaos until the end of the Heresy, which is a long time for a place so close to the Imperium's center! Although this is justified as Pluto is right on the edge of the Solar System and thus is first stop for invaders.


    Video Games 
  • In Super Robot Wars W, Pluto has become all but forgotten (foreshadowed in a scene in which Boss can't even remember its name), until it's revealed that the Big Bad's base is there. To make matters worse, one of the penultimate boss' attacks features it skewering the victim so hard they go through the planet and out the other side.
  • Though you can find our solar system in Spore, Pluto isn't part of it.
  • In Stellaris, Pluto is classified as an asteroid, looks like an icy comet, and is referred to by its formal name (134340 Pluto). It shares the Kuiper Belt with dwarf planets Makemake, Haumea, and Varuna.
  • In the final battle of Final Fantasy VII (International), among the many planets destroyed in Sephiroth's Overly Long Fighting Animation, Supernova, Pluto is the first.
  • In Super Scribblenauts, you get the "Astronomer" merit if you "decorate the sky with every planet in the solar system". Pluto does not count toward this.
  • In MySims Agents, some of the planets are represented by decorative objects. Part of the description for Pluto says something like "(Well, some of us still believe it's a planet...)"
  • In TAGAP's third episode, Pluto's declassification from "planet" to "dwarf planet" really angers its inhabitants. They are preparing an invasion. Did we mention that they are Funky Green Penguins?
  • Ninth Rock kicks off with Spencer learning that Pluto has been demoted due to its small size, so he decides to sneak into MASA and find a way to make it bigger.
  • One of the storybooks in Puppeteer (2013) has Pluto lamenting it's not a planet anymore when the Sun Princess visits the furthest planets.
  • In Starbound, there exists a model of the planet Pluto. Examining it will lead the Player Character to drop their two cents about the whole dwarf planet business.
    Apex Protector: "I do not understand this human obsession with this minor and insignificant dwarf planet."
    Glitch Protector: "Perplexed. Why do the humans hold Pluto in such high regard? It's not even a planet."
    Novakid Protector: "Pluto was considered the ninth planet in the Sol System before having its status revoked. Now it's just a little varmint."
  • In No Straight Roads, DJ Subatomic Supernova mockingly compares Bunk Bed Junction to the dwarf planet, describing them as small and insignificant, something that completely goes over Mayday's head.
  • In Tales of Berseria, Laphicet can equip bags as his particular type of protective equipment unique to him, some of which are named after planets. The description for the Pluto Satchel reads "A bag unfairly cast out of bag society, causing it to be slowly forgotten."
  • In Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek, an idiot tasks Nancy with finding out what planet each suspect most identifies with. Naturally, it's the Smug Snake who thinks himself far more brave and persecuted than he actually is that lists Pluto as his answer, despite Nancy telling him that Pluto isn't a planet.
  • OMORI inverts the trope, as Pluto serves as a Warp Whistle for easy transportation, becomes a mentor figure to Kel, and can be challenged to a fight at several points in the plot. Pluto was originally part of Space Boyfriend's back room decoration, and two of the Space Pirates are freaking out about his escape because Pluto is Space Boyfriend's favorite planet. When Space Boyfriend regains his senses and is later informed of the news, he doesn't dismiss Pluto and instead believes that Pluto was destined for greater things than mere decoration with the other planets.

    Web Animation 
  • This episode of On The Moon.
  • In a story from wwwchargesdotcomdotbr in 2006, a man woke up from a four-year coma and his daughter was updating him on pieces of bad news. In the end, he said it was okay because his zodiac sign was ruled by Pluto. She was then thinking about how to explain another bad news.
  • The StoryBots educational song "We are the Planets" features the first eight planets with a verse... while Pluto is seen sulking in the background for a split second.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Chester A. Bum blows up Pluto with nukes in an installment of Atop the Fourth Wall, just to get The Nostalgia Critic to take him seriously. The Critic is unimpressed. (He got more reaction from blowing up Hollywood, Rome, and France.) This happened during a "Previously on Atop the Fourth Wall" segment, meaning that the above didn't really happen in the That Guy With the Glasses universe. Also when he reviews Sailor Moon, he points out this trope and then proceeds to shoot poor Sailor Pluto.
  • In a crossover video between Freddie Wong and Epic Meal Time, one of the things they add to the shot is some planets in the sky. When Pluto pops up, Freddie says "Pluto ain't a planet! Get that outta there!"
  • Shortly before his debut on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert posted this video on Youtube regarding recent photos of Pluto taken by New Horizons, complete with an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
    Colbert: I would love to hear what Neil has to say now! [turns to Neil in the chair next to him] Neil, what do you have to say now?

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: An alien Evil Overlord blows it up in a demonstration of what he'll do to Earth if he doesn't get his daughter back. And then the Voices of Alien X argue about its status as a (dwarf) planet. And more importantly it's never rebuilt.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Doofenshmirtz enters the science fair and ridicules a boy who is entering a model of Pluto (see the quote at the top of the page). The boy's older brother then gives Doofenshmirtz a shiner.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: The president has a button that blows up "the planet" in case he became inexplicably evil. At the end of the episode, Cosmo pushes the button just because he can. Cue Pluto's destruction.
    Cosmo: Well, sure! He never said which planet it blew up.
    Timmy: Who cares? It's Pluto.
    Wanda and Cosmo: Hey! That's not nice!
    Cosmo: That's where I keep my corn!
  • Futurama: A dark matter spill takes place at a penguin sanctuary in Pluto. Dealing with it is treated as the kind of thing only environmentalist hippies would do, and of course, Leela drags Fry and Bender into it. However, Bender warms to the penguins and comes to take a more active role in aiding their rehabilitation.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): Michelangelo eats Pluto. Or the doughnut representing Pluto in Donatello's diagram, at least.
    Mikey: [munching] What? It's Pluto. Who cares about Pluto?
  • In Mission Hill, Gus and Wally made a B-grade sci-fi movie in The '50s about a man from Pluto coming to Earth to get revenge for his planet being blown up.
  • In a Robot Chicken sketch where the planets were alive, Pluto is kicked out of their party. Eventually they agree to let him back in in exchange for sexual favors.
  • In an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Blue Beetle fights the Planet Master, who uses various powers thematically linked to the planets of our Solar System, including the "cold of Pluto". Blue Beetle protests that Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore. Planet Master's response?
  • An episode of The Replacements has the family playing a mini-golf course, where they must hit the ball past some obstacles, among them a rotating windmill of planets that block a hole. Mr. Daring puts his ball which gets deflected by one of the planets. Riley then tells him it was deflected by Pluto, to which he retorts that it is not even a real planet anymore.
  • An episode of Quack Pack was actually about Donald Duck becoming planet-sized and smashing Pluto to pieces because that's where his nephews (all pretending to be superheroes) are hiding. Also, a brief cameo of the ''other'' Pluto for extra bonus points.
  • Sidekick one episode suggested that Pluto as well as Uranus and Neptune were destroyed before, Eric mentions they only have 6 planets now when Saturn was destroyed by a laser.
  • This gets referenced in Metalocalypse when Pickles is guest-starring on a game show and is asked which celestial body is no longer considered a planet. Pickles, being extremely drunk, guesses the earth instead.
  • In "The Planet Name Game" on The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, the Cat, Nick and Sally travel into space and name the eight planets. Neither Pluto nor the controversy surrounding it is mentioned. Incidentally, this may be the first series of its type to touch the subject of naming the planets since the 2006 decision.
  • In Dogstar, Bob Santino blows up Pluto in order to demonstrate the power of the Santino Laser Cannon. He then offers r to blow up Mars so the sound will reach Earth sooner but is stopped from doing so by Fenwick.
  • Sid the Science Kid gives Pluto a similar treatment to The Cat... when the show covers the planets. It simply isn't mentioned - Teacher Susie simply teaches the kids about the eight planets, the four terrestrial planets, and the four outer planets.
  • Space Racers is a kids' show about space exploration and the technology that is used to augment same. Since the educational content for the show is supplied by NASA itself, Pluto is left off of flight plans and out of discussions.
  • Ready Jet Go! didn't mention Pluto at all until an In-Universe moment of Anachronism Stew happens during "A Trip to the Planetarium" in which Pluto is still listed as a planet in the planetarium show. The controversy surrounding Pluto does get touched upon briefly when Sydney points out that the film was made before Pluto's demotion.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • In "The Void", Pluto is among the world's many mistakes, which the world sucks away into the Void.
    • Pluto appears in "The Singing", singing a somber song about losing its status as a planet. One of the other planets tells her to quiet down. After she's done, she then joins a bikers' gang of asteroids.
  • Rick and Morty: This is the B-plot of "Something Ricked This Way Comes", where Jerry's belief that Pluto is still a planet attracts the attention of a Plutonian politician, who recruits him to assure the masses that there is nothing wrong with Pluto by telling them it is still a planet. It turns out that said politician is doing this because, as a Plutonian scientist tells Morty, Pluto used to meet the qualifications to be a planet, but the mining of Plutonium from its core is slowly causing it to shrink, which will eventually lead to an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Morty reveals this to Jerry, but his desire to be right and wanting people to like him outweighs doing the right thing; However, when the politician has the scientist arrested, who turns out to be his own son,Jerry decides to reveal the truth... which only causes public outrage and Jerry and Morty to be booted from the planet, leaving the fate of the Plutonians ambiguous.
  • Hercules: The Animated Series: In an episode where the Romans are looking for gods to worship, they eventually settle on the Greek pantheon by the end and give them all new names (as per real life). Hades is less than happy with his new moniker.
    Hades: Pluto? They wanna call me "Pluto?" What kind of name is that? I wouldn't call my dog "Pluto!"
  • Forky Asks a Question has Bonnie's unicorn plush Buttercup getting aggravated with all of Forky's questions, so he takes the spork on a "speedrun" of sorts through knowledge; one of the facts he brings up is that there are eight planets in the solar system, "plus or minus Pluto".

    Real Life 
  • As noted in the intro, Pluto was delisted in 2006 by new standards (new in that before, there were no standards). In fact, in ancient times, the Sun and Moon were planets while the Earth was not a planet because the word "planet" came from the Greek word for "wanderer".note  This was inverted with Ceres: It too was made a dwarf planet (an upgrade from simply being a "large asteroid") because it is the only spherical object in the Asteroid Belt, as with Haumea, Makemake, and Eris since they were all discovered after Pluto was recognized. Pluto's reclassification has been averted in Illinois and New Mexico (The home state of the man who discovered Pluto), where the state legislatures have passed laws reclassifying Pluto as a planet. In fact, after the New Horizons flyby of Pluto, the mayor of Alamogordo, New Mexico immediately declares that Pluto is a planet. Even the head of NASA says that Pluto is a planet for him. However, this has yet to occur in Arizona, where the discovery was made.
  • Interestingly, Ceres played the trope straight before inverting it: upon discovery in 1801, it was classified as a planet, along with Pallas, Juno, and Vesta, until further researches shrunk their size while countless small, similar bodies kept popping up. Thus, they were all re-categorised as "minor planets" (asteroids), which is pretty much exactly what happened to Pluto one-hundred-fifty years later. With the new classification standards in 2006, Ceres was re-categorized again, so it was "demoted" from planet to asteroid, and then "promoted" from asteroid to dwarf planet.
  • Many people and groups had delisted Pluto before the 2006 decision, most prominently the Hayden Planetarium when it reopened in a new building in 2000. Its director, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has since become a public spokesman in favor of Pluto's non-planethood due to that initial controversy — somewhat ironically and unwillingly since he's an astrophysicist, more concerned with the universe at large. A more willing public face of the Pluto Perish movement is astronomer Mike Brown; not only is he actually a planetary astronomer, but he discovered Eris, the Kuiper belt object more massive than Pluto that got it demoted in the first place. Brown takes a mildly ironic joy in his role in history; his Twitter handle is @Plutokiller and his autobiography is called How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming. Dr. Brown sees even further hilarity in being one of the leading advocates in the search for the Solar System's true ninth planet, due to his discovery of a dwarf planet whose orbit can not be attributed to the gravity of the eight known planets.
  • Due to the distance and size of Pluto, it can be destroyed with little more effect than a visible light in the sky. If we assume for simplicity that blowing up Pluto is inefficient enough that just as much energy goes into light, the energy that reaches the Earth would be roughly what we get from the sun in a fifth of a second. Destroying a true planet would most likely wipe out all life on any of the other planets. This is less about that Pluto is expendable as that it's small and far enough that we don't have to worry about being caught in the crossfire.
  • Historically, astronomers were only looking for the solar system's ninth planet because they made a mistake when calculating Uranus and Neptune's masses when determining their orbits, and concluded that there was another large object affecting themnote . When Voyager II allowed astronomers to get an accurate figure of their masses, it turns out that their orbits perfectly account for all of the known planets. So if it hadn't been for that mistake, Pluto likely wouldn't have been discovered until decades later, and there would have been a much smaller gap between Pluto's discovery and the rest of the Kuiper Belt. Ultimately, the only reason the general public, and even most astronomers, care about Pluto is because of a math error.


Video Example(s):


Milleous destroys Pluto

Milleous destroys the dwarf planet Pluto to serve as a warning as what will happen to earth if his daughter is not returned.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlutoIsExpendable

Media sources: