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Pluto, one of the most massive objects known in the Kuiper Belt region of the solar system, controversially lost its status as a “planet” in 2006, which was then classed as a “dwarf planet”. Though Pluto was discovered in the year 1930, scientists could see a clear image only after the NASA’s “New Horizons” mission in 2015. The success of the New Horizons probe revealed some of the most amazing facts about Pluto which then gained world-wide popularity. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you travelled to this dwarf planet? Let’s find out!

The New Horizons
The New Horizons
  • You won’t like message delivery service!

    If you lived on Pluto right now, it would take about 4.5 hours for your messages to reach home. But the exact amount of time it would take for such a message would vary greatly throughout it’s year, which lasts 248 Earth years! It travels along a highly elliptical orbit that brings it inside Neptune’s orbit for 20 years; during this time, when it is closest to Earth, a message sent home would take about four hours. But when it is farthest from Earth, that message would travel for over 6.5 hours before reaching its destination.

  • Freezing is the new normal

    Depending on where it is in its orbit, you can expect freezing temperatures on Pluto that vary from minus 369 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 223 Celsius) to minus 387 F (minus 233 C). So the weather is cold enough to freeze even your veins!

  • Instant weight loss!

    It’s gravity is only one-fifteenth that of Earth’s, so you’d only weigh 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) here if you weighed 150 lbs. (68 kg) on Earth. Wish it was that easy here on Earth!

  • Round trip in a jiffy

    If you were to go off exploring it’s surface, you shouldn’t expect a long trip. It is only about two-thirds as wide as Earth’s moon and has about the same surface area as Russia, so a trip around the planet shouldn’t take too long.

  • Pluto’s moon

    Charon- Pluto's moon
    Charon- Pluto’s moon

    Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, are tidally locked, so one side of Pluto and one side of Charon always face one another. If you were standing on the side of Pluto facing Charon, the moon would appear quite large. As a comparison, on Earth, you could blot out the full moon with your thumb if you held out your arm, but it would take almost your entire fist to block Charon while standing on Pluto.

  • Get blown away!

    When Pluto is closer to the sun, the ice on the dwarf planet’s surface sublimate (transform from a solid to a gas), creating a tenuous atmosphere. Computer models suggest it’s atmosphere allows for atmospheric winds of 225 mph (362 km/h) and a surface pressure that’s currently about 3 microbars (the Earth’s surface pressure is 1 bar).

  • What would the sun look like?

At midday on Pluto (it’s day is 6.4 Earth days), the sun would look like Jupiter does from Earth — like a fat star — though much brighter.

Armed with all these interesting facts, are you ready to pack your bags and explore Pluto? Maybe one day in the near future, visiting Pluto may not be as far-fetched as we imagine it. It still represents uncertainties and it is not unclear what kinds of dangers you’d face, aside from cosmic radiation and the cold. You may have to brave volcanoes and geysers or maybe, just maybe, bear witness to the existence of life!

Jokes apart, read about some real space travel in this article!

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