Top of marker:Pluto
These tiny spheres are the dwarf planet Pluto and its moon Charon at one 10-billionth actual size.
If Pluto were this big, how far away would the Sun and planets be? Look at the map on the lower panel to find your position in the solar system.
Bottom of marker:
Voyage to Pluto
Distant Pluto is like no planet. Unlike the gas giant planets, it is solid and very small. Unlike the rocky planets, it is made mostly of ices. Pluto is a lot like a comet, a ball of ice mixed with some rock. But 10 million comets could fid inside Pluto.
The first spacecraft to visit Pluto—New Horizons—will arrive in 2015.
What is Pluto?
Beyond the orbit of Neptune are more than 1,200 icy bodies known as "Trans-Neptunian Objects." Pluto is one of the largest, and the first discovered in 1930. It wasn't until 1992 that another was found and a new class of objects was soon recognized. While no longer considered a planet, Pluto is massive enough to be called a "dwarf planet."
Weighing in on Pluto
Gravity on tiny Pluto is so weak that if you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you would weigh only 7 pounds on Pluto. You could easily lift a friend over your head or jump into a second-floor window
with a single bound.
Walk to Neptune about 207 steps
Pluto has not completed a single orbit of the Sun since the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Walk to Entry
Voyage is an exhibition of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Smithsonian Institution. It is designed for permanent installation in communities worldwide.
In the real solar system, the planets never line up as they orbit the Sun.