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Destination: Pluto

Destination: Pluto

Why save your pennies to holiday in Ibiza or Bermuda when you can party longer and harder on Pluto? Doug Kitson takes us on a tour of the solar system's latest hotspot for night life.

First off: the lowdown
Pluto has long been considered the smallest of the Solar System’s planets. However, August last year saw the promotion of Pluto to the exclusive club of Dwarf Planets. In this group of just three planets it holds the far more impressive rank of second largest. This has sparked what is being hailed the “Great Pluto War” amongst astronomical fundamentalists. But despite the unrest, Pluto is still considered safe by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and officials stress that there is no cause for alarm.


Pluto’s scenery is unique to the region. The whole planet is tidally locked to Charon, its largest moon, which hangs in the same spot 157 hours a day, 576 days a year. Enjoy dinner by moonlight for hours on one side, or get an unobstructed view of the stars on the other. But if stationary moons aren’t your thing, Pluto has not one but two other moons for your enjoyment. Known as Nix and Hydra to the locals, both are largely unexplored lending a sense of adventure to any visit.

Nights out
Enjoy the best in trans-Neptunian fine dining at any one of the romantic eateries situated below the permanently moonlit side of the planet. A popular gourmet destination, Pluto can guarantee the freshest foods and classiest restaurants for 165 million kilometres. With nights lasting far longer than on larger dwarf planets, maximum enjoyment requires great stamina. Most night clubs cater for everyone from the hardcore clubber looking for 78 hours of full on entertainment, to the more relaxed travellers who are free to sample the range of delights that Pluto has to offer. (What is a dwarf planet?)

Some say Pluto lacks a decent atmosphere, but as soon as you arrive you can feel the party vibes all around. You can celebrate for a bog standard 24 hour Earth day or go the whole hog and party the full Plutonian. Whether it’s the discovery of one of the dwarf planet’s moons you’re toasting, or Pluto’s seceding from planethood, you’ll be treated to a delightful dose of tradition and festive spirit.
Continued below...

Discover Pluto’s unique beauty by foot or hover car and see what dwarf planets really have to offer, but wrap up warm because it can get pretty cold out – lows of -240°C mean you’ll need to pack your thermals. Stargazing and Sun spotting make for a relaxing afternoon’s entertainment. And low gravity makes Pluto a popular destination for sports fans; why not try to hit golf balls into orbit or ski across the nitrogen ice and impress the spectators with impossibly huge
jumps. Pluto offers every kind of activity the intrepid tourist would expect 570 million kilometres from Earth.

If you thought this was out-of-this-world, wait till you read:

- Strange - Strange new worlds
- Straight - The real extraterrestrials
- News - Snails go into orbit
- Spoof - Custard seen from space

Or maybe you should try another space destination.

Image: W

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23 Apr 2011
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