It is thought that Pluto's atmosphere will freeze as it moves further from the Sun. We know that Pluto was it's closest to the Sun in the 1990's. Is it known if the atmosphere will freeze prior to New Horizon's reaching it?


1 Answer 1


According to this paper, Pluto's atmosphere never collapses. Though it was handy that we thought it did at one time, since that helped to get New Horizons approved as a mission, in order to try to get there before the imminent collapse.

  • $\begingroup$ Did "we" really think it would collapse, or was the "imminent collapse" a funding ploy? $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2013 at 9:25
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    $\begingroup$ It was the prevailing understanding. It was not invented as a funding ploy. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Adler
    Sep 14, 2013 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ Obivously, Mark is in on the funding ploy. What else aren't they telling us?! What do you know about Nibiru?! $\endgroup$
    – corsiKa
    Jul 9, 2015 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ Even if we didn't ever think the atmosphere would collapse, there was another reason to get New Horizons going as soon as planetary alignments allowed. Pluto is like Uranus in its axis being close to the orbital plane, so in turn large parts of each hemisphere become shadowed for prolonged periods. At the time New Horizons was flying towards Pluto the Southern Hemisphere was going into this prolonged darkness and we needed to get the craft there before this hemisphere was mostly lost. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2020 at 0:10

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