Pluto's Thermal Environment

extracted from Thermal Environments JPL D-8160

Link to: SEDS data or JPL data or GSFC data

The following table summarizes the range of Direct Solar, Reflected Solar (Albedo), and Planetary Infrared for the planet Pluto.

                 Perihelion       Aphelion         Mean


Direct Solar      1.56 W/sqM      0.56 W/sqM       0.88 W/sqM

Albedo             0.47           0.47             0.47
(subsolar peak)

Planetary IR.     0.8 W/sqM       0.3 W/sqM        0.5 W/sqM

But we can launch a mission to Pluto only when Jupiter is in the right place. The next opportunity occurs in the year 2001. A Pluto-bound spacecraft launched then would pass Jupiter in 2006 and arrive at Pluto in 2015.

The planet Pluto has a fairly high albedo. Its thermal environment are so low that it could almost be ignored except for very sensitive instruments and detectors.

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