The Surface Composition Investigation for Pluto and Its Moons from the New Horizons Mission

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 9:00 AM
Catherine Olkin1, William M Grundy2, S Alan Stern1, Harold A Weaver Jr3, Leslie Ann Young1, Kimberly Ennico Smith4, Richard P Binzel5, Dale P Cruikshank4, Donald E Jennings6, Joel Wm Parker7, Dennis Reuter6 and John R Spencer8, (1)Southwest Research Institute Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ, United States, (3)The Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, MD, United States, (4)NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States, (5)MIT Rm 54-410, Cambridge, MA, United States, (6)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (7)Southwest Research Institute Boulder, Dept Space Studies, Boulder, CO, United States, (8)Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, United States
One of the main scientific goals of the New Horizons mission is to map the surface composition of Pluto and Charon. The mission will also investigate the composition of Pluto’s smaller moons: Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. These objectives will primarily be accomplished using the Ralph instrument (Reuter et al. 2008) using the MVIC color channels (Red, Blue, Methane and Near-Infrared) and the LEISA infrared spectral imager. The planned compositional observations of Pluto, Charon and the small satellites will be described and compared to the current knowledge from Earth-based observations.

Reuter, D. C., et al., 2008. Ralph: A Visible/Infrared Imager for the New Horizons Pluto/Kuiper Belt Mission. Space Science Reviews. 140, 129-154.