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Pluto Fast Flyby

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The Pluto / Kuiper Express is a robotic reconnaissance mission to the Pluto-Charon system. If the encounter is successful, then the mission may be extended to encounter one or more Kuiper belt objects. The mission is planned to be 2 spacecraft. The main science objectives are to (1) characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon; (2) map the composition of Pluto's surface and (3) determine the composition and structure of Pluto's atmosphere. More information may be found here.

Mission Timeline

  • FY98 - Preproject funding
  • 2002, 2004 - Possible launch
  • 2010 - Pluto-Charon Encounter

IRTF Mission Support

  • 1-5 micron spectroscopy with SPEX and monitoring the decay of Pluto's atmosphere as it moves away from perihelion


Visits since 10/99. Last Updated on December 15, 2001
Karen. Meech, Institute for Astronomy, UH
meech@ifa.hawaii.edu