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This is for a fiction project I'm working on. Assuming it becomes possible to someday land on Pluto, what hazards might be encountered given what we've learned about its surface makeup?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you just want to land, or do you also want people walking around in spacesuits? The latter seems a lot harder. Probably better to land on one of the water ice regions than the predominant nitogen ice, since the latter will boil off violently from your waste heat. $\endgroup$ – Ben Crowell Jun 16 '17 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, there's an EVA and this is exactly the kind of natural hazard I was thinking of. More please! $\endgroup$ – PHChilly Jun 17 '17 at 15:15
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The primary difficulties I can think of are the sparse atmosphere and the temperature. Pluto's atmosphere is incredibly thin, to the point that it is functionally useless for aerobraking or parachutes on descent. This means that any lander would have to burn a lot of fuel on descent.

Since Pluto is so cold, power supply is also an issue. Battery life would be short due to the temperature, so another form of power (like an RTG) would be required for a mission of any serious length.

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    $\begingroup$ Escape velocity is only 1200 m/s, versus 2400 m/s for the moon. $\endgroup$ – Ben Crowell Jun 16 '17 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ So an accomplished feat, but still worthy of note. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jun 16 '17 at 4:06

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