MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: how much air do we need to survive on pluto

Date: Mon Dec 19 11:23:15 2005
Posted By: Tye Morancy, Staff, Medical Physicist/Dosimetrist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1134613033.Gb

Thank you Tamar for the question.

The answer to your question is that it would be about the same amount of 
air needed to survive as you do on Earth.  On earth, we all know that 
there is plenty of air to breathe, but on Pluto there is a different 
atmosphere.  You would need a spacesuit to carry your air with you...

There is not much we know for sure about Pluto's atmosphere, but it is 
made up of mostly nitrogen with some carbon monoxide and methane and very 
thin.  Not only that, but most of the time Pluto's atmosphere is frozen 
into ice.  

Because of this, an astronaut visiting Pluto would need a spacesuit to 
keep them warm and give them air to breathe.  The amount of air needed 
would be very similar to what this astronaut would need on other 
planets.  The small difference is that Pluto is not a very big planet and 
has alot less gravity than here on Earth.  This means that if you were 
the astronaut trying to do work or go places on Pluto, it would take less 
energy to move yourself (have you ever seen the movies of astronauts 
hopping across the moon?).  On the other hand, you have a big, bulky suit 
to move around, which would take more energy.  

The temperature shouldn't be a problem, as you would have that controlled 
through your suit (it would have to be pretty warm for Pluto's low 
temperature of -235 degrees Celsius).  

So, maybe you can say that you use about the same air there on Pluto if 
you were doing similar activities here on Earth, but wearing a 

I hope this helped.

"Mad Scientist"

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