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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