Artist's concept of Pluto
Pluto has been featured in many instances of science fiction and popular culture. Initially classified as a planet upon its discovery in 1930, Pluto has also received considerable publicity following a 2006 definition of planet decree, which dubbed it a dwarf planet.
- The Whisperer in Darkness (1931), story by H. P. Lovecraft, and other Cthulhu Mythos stories. Pluto is called Yuggoth. He formed the concept of Yuggoth before Pluto had been discovered. However, as Lovecraft was still in the process of writing "The Whisperer in Darkness" Pluto was found - an interesting coincidence. In the stories, a fictional alien race called the Mi-go have a base there. There are some stories, though, that identify Yuggoth with a huge world situated beyond Pluto on an orbit perpendicular to the ecliptic.
- In Plutonian Depths (Wonder Stories Quarterly, Spring 1931), short story by Stanton A. Coblentz. The first story to take advantage of the newly discovered and named world.
- The Red Peri (1935), novella by Stanley G. Weinbaum. The title character is a space pirate with a secret base on Pluto.
- Cosmic Engineers (1939, 1950), novel by Clifford D. Simak, features a human base on Pluto.
- First Lensman (1950), novel by E. E. "Doc" Smith, features an alien race colonizing Pluto without ever realizing that life existed on Earth.
- "Sky Lift" (1953), story by Robert A. Heinlein. A torch-ship pilot flies on a mercy mission to Pluto at 9 g's.
- Andromeda (1957), by Ivan Efremov. Pluto described as extrasolar planet, composed mainly of ice. In the novel briefly mentioned, that terrestrial expedition have found remnants of ancient alien structures.
- Have Space Suit—Will Travel (1958), juvenile novel by Robert A. Heinlein. Pluto is used by aliens as a remote base for Earth exploration. In Heinlein's Starship Troopers (1959), the Terran Federation maintains a research station on or near Pluto, which was destroyed by enemy action.
- October the First Is Too Late (1966), a novel by Fred Hoyle.
- World of Ptavvs (1966), novel by Larry Niven. Pluto was theorized to have been a moon of Neptune until it was knocked out of orbit by an interstellar craft moving near lightspeed. A fusion-driven spacecraft landing on Pluto in this story releases the frozen methane, oxygen, etc., and causes the entire planet to be engulfed in flames.
- "Wait It Out" (1968), short story by Larry Niven. An astronaut is stranded on Pluto, but doesn't die.
- World's Fair 1992 by Robert Silverberg (1968), in which a U.S.-led expedition reaches Pluto in less than two weeks using a nuclear-powered spacecraft capable of continuous acceleration. The spacecraft, Pluto I, collects five crab-like indigenous Plutonians and returns them to Earth orbit for study.
- "Construction Shack" (1973), short story by Clifford D. Simak. The first mission to Pluto uncovers evidence suggesting that the solar system is nothing short of a huge alien engineering project gone awry.
- Passage to Pluto (1973), Book 14 in the Chris Godfrey of U.N.E.X.A. series by Hugh Walters. An expedition to Pluto discovers a super-dense wandering planet nearby. The astronauts name it Planet X and further discover that it is about to decimate the solar system.
- "The Borderland of Sol" (1975), short story by Larry Niven that takes place ca. 2640. Pluto is dismissed as an escaped moon of Neptune, while the solar system's outer planets are listed as Neptune, Persephone, Caïna, Antenora, and Ptolemea, with Judecca reserved for the next discovery.
- Inherit the Stars (1977), first book of the Gentle Giants series by James P. Hogan. Pluto turns out to be the remains of Minerva, a planet that exploded to form the asteroid belt 50,000 years ago.
- "Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe" (1977) by John Varley. Pluto is the setting of a coming-of-age story of a boy who discovers himself to be the clone of Pluto's finance minister.
- Starrigger series (1983) by John DeChancie. Pluto is the location of our solar system's dimensional gate to the interstellar Skyway.
- Icehenge (1985), novel by Kim Stanley Robinson. A mysterious monument is found on Pluto's north pole.
- Vacuum Diagrams (2001), anthology by Stephen Baxter. In the story "Goose Summer" Frank Poole's wormhole system has placed a portal in the orbit of Pluto, when a survey mission is sent to the planet, the gate malfunctions and the two women explorers make a forced landing. It is later discovered that Pluto harbors life in the form of snowflake-like creatures who reproduce during the brightest phase of Pluto, the perihelion (closest point to the Sun), by sending strands of "cobwebs" from Charon, its moon, to seed the surface of Pluto.
- The Sunborn (2006), a novel by Gregory Benford. The first expedition to Pluto discovers intelligent creatures thriving in -300°F (-185°C or 90 K) temperatures along the shore of the planet's nitrogen sea. These life forms are discovered to be an experiment conducted by magnetic entities living in the heliopause.
- Before Dishonor (2007), a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel by Peter David. A large Borg cubeship "consumes" the newly recategorized planet Pluto, Charon, Nix and Hydra for resources before advancing to Earth's orbit. A character darkly remarked that after its status repeatedly bouncing back and forth over the past centuries, the problem of what to call Pluto had been eliminated.
- The Man Who... (2012), a short story by Simon Petrie. Comet-miners approaching the Pluto/Charon system uncover anomalous features of Pluto's fourth moon S/2011 (134340) 1, for which the name Erebus is used in the story.
Artist's concept of Charon seen from the surface of Pluto.
- In All-Star Comics #13, the JSA are gassed by Nazis and sent to different planets. The Spectre finds himself heading towards Pluto and exits his ship before it crashes. Unaffected by the cold and ice, he decides to fully expore this planet when he finds a man-made cover for a shaft going into the ground. He shrinks down and enters the shaft, reaching a city below, and encountering a resident who believes him to be evil. Later, the man explains to the Spectre that they are being menaced by the "furred ones" who inhabited in the city's square buildings. The Ghostly Guardian finally makes peace between the two groups. Rewarded by Pluto's scientists with the secret of making heat used for travel in cold areas, Spectre heads back to Earth.
- In Planet Comics #45 Pluto is shown to be inhabited by a green- skinned race that communicates by telepathy.
- In July 1958, Superman journeys to Pluto to obtain some giant snowflakes, frozen so solidly that they will not melt on Earth, for inclusion among the collection of “space trophies” which he is gathering for the Metropolis Museum so that they may be buried in the ground in a time capsule as a gift for the people of the fiftieth century C.E. (S No. 122/1: “The Secret of the Space Souvenirs!”).
- In Neutro #1 the Plutonians have placed a Neutro Robot in many planets in the galaxy, so that they can take them over. The Plutonians are short, and green.
- Guardians of the Galaxy, comic (January 1969). Martinex T'Naga is the last survivor of a human colony in Pluto. His ancestors were African. The character operates in the 31st century. Plutonian colonists have crystals on their bodies to protect them from the extreme temperatures.
- Cerebus by Dave Sim, during the "Minds" storyline, Cerebus journeys against his will to Pluto, which he refers to as "Juno".
- DC One Million (1998), comic by Grant Morrison. All the planets of the solar system are overseen by one member of the future descendants of the Justice League. Pluto is overseen by the Batman of the 853rd century, and is called the "Asylum Planet."
- In the TV series Space Patrol (1962) - episode "The Fires of Mercury" - Professor Heggarty's device for translating the language of ants also converts heat waves into radio waves. Maria realises that this might provide a way of transmitting warmth from Mercury to the colony on Pluto, where freezing conditions worsen as the planet nears the point in its orbit farthest from the Sun.
- In the Doctor Who (1963–) serial The Sun Makers (1977), set far in the future, Pluto is covered with vast cities that are warmed by artificial suns where the human race has moved, but access to sunlight is controlled by a ruling elite.
- In the Japanese marionette series X-Bomber (1980–81) (known as Star Fleet in the U.K.). Pluto was the location of an Earth Defense Force base destroyed at the beginning of the series.
- In the second part of the BBC drama documentary Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets (2004), Pluto is the penultimate destination on a hypothetical human space flight to planets of the Solar System.
- In the second episode of the 1967 Spider-Man series, the title character faces giant ice creatures from the planet Pluto.
- In the anime series Space Battleship Yamato (1974), also known as Star Blazers, the eponymous starship destroys an alien base on Pluto (where most of the planet bombs that rendered Earth into a wasteland are launched) and fights a subsequent battle in an asteroid belt beyond Pluto. Eighteen years later astronomers confirmed the existence of the real-life Kuiper belt.
- In the anime series Galaxy Express 999 (1978–81) Pluto exists as a planet where those people who have abandoned their physical bodies for mechanical ones discard their former organic bodies.
- In the animated TV series Battle of the Planets (1978–85), Pluto is the location of an early warning base.
- In the anime series Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (1982), the SDF-1 Macross spaceship executes a spacefold jump inside Earth's atmosphere to escape the attacking Zentradi forces. An accident takes the ship and everything within several-kilometer radius (ocean, island, city, naval forces) to the orbit of Pluto, and the SDF-1 Macross must return to Earth by more conventional means. Macross was later adapted as The Macross Saga, the first part of the 1985 series Robotech
- In the anime series Cowboy Bebop (1998), it is mentioned that a "supermax" maximum security penitentiary is located on Pluto.
- In an episode of The Magic School Bus (1994-1997) the class takes a tour of the solar system and visits Pluto.
- Futurama (1999–2003) featured Pluto as a habitat for penguins in the episode "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz." Another episode includes a reference to a planet named "McPluto."
- The first five episodes of Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles (1999) are set on Pluto.
Artist's impression of Pluto and Charon.
- In the anime series Sailor Moon, one of the supporting characters is named Sailor Pluto, she is also known as Setsuna Meioh. She fights along with the other Outer Senshi for the Moon Kingdom; and, carrying a Garnet Rod, is the guardian of the Space-Time door.
- In the Ezone.com game, Lenny Loosejocks in Space, Pluto is one of the places Lenny must go to defuse one of the bombs on the other planets before he can save Earth.
- The player visits Pluto as the second planet on the way to the Sun in the NES port of Gyruss.
- In the computer game Star Control II (1990), and consequently in The Ur-Quan Masters, the Spathi Captain Fwiffo can be found on Pluto.
- In the game Starsiege (1999), Pluto is destroyed at the end of the game.
- In the game Epoch Star (2004), Pluto is the home planet of the Anthropite civilization.
- In the 1994 PC game Descent, Pluto serves as the final location. Levels 25 and 26 are set in an outpost and military base on the planet itself. Level 27, the final level in the game, takes place on Charon, in a volatile materials mine.
- In the RPG Mass Effect, Pluto's moon, Charon, was discovered to have been a "Mass Relay" device encased in ice, part of a galaxy-wide faster-than-light transit network left behind by an ancient civilization. Once this relay is reactivated, Pluto's orbit is made less eccentric and inclined, ceasing its occasional cross with Neptune's orbit.
- The first few missions of the PC game Battlezone 2 take place on Pluto.
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