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Learn about planets outside our solar system through Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems by Tahir Yaqoob, Ph.D., a book in our online store book collection.
This is an image of Antarctica, giving an idea of what an icy surface might look like from space.
Click on image for full size
JPL/NASA

Questions to answer about Pluto

Pluto is so far away, and has never been explored. Questions to answer about Pluto include the following:

  • What are the geologic features of the surface. (pictures of the surface)
  • If there are bare spots, what minerals and other outcroppings can be found there. (special measurements of the light from of the surface)
  • What is the nature of the atmosphere
    • Are there liquids and clouds in the atmosphere?
    • What is the character of the winds?
  • Is the interior of the planet active.
  • What is the temperature of the planet? (measure the radiation emanating from the planet)
and about Charon
  • Is there an atmosphere?
  • Is there a magnetic field?

Since Pluto's atmosphere should disappear by the year 2000, as it crosses the orbit of Neptune on its 248 Earth year journey around the sun, the time to explore Pluto is now.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA