Near-true-colour image mosaic of Pluto taken by the New Horizons spacecraft on 14 July 2015 from a distance of 450,000 kilometers
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) and from the flyby of the New Horizons space probe in July 2015.
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.
In Andromeda (1957), by Ivan Efremov, Pluto is described as being an extrasolar planet, composed mainly of ice. The novel also briefly mentioned that a terrestrial expedition had found remnants of ancient alien structures.
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.
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.
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 and its moons 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.
Percival's Planet (2010), a novel by Michael Byers, dramatizes the search for and discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930.
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 Kerberos, for which the name Erebus is used in the story.
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 explore 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 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.
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 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 (from where most of the planet bombs that turned Earth into a wasteland are launched) and fights a subsequent battle in an asteroid belt beyond Pluto.
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 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 animated series Rick and Morty, Jerry's insistence that Pluto is a planet prompts the Plutonians to bring him and Morty to Pluto where he is hailed as a celebrity and a hero. Jerry and Morty both soon discover that Pluto's government needs the citizens to believe that Pluto is still large enough to be called a planet so that they can continue to mine "plutonium" from Pluto's core.
In the Phineas and Ferb episode Unfair Science Fair, Dr. Doofenschmirtz mocks a child's model of Pluto by saying, "That's not even a planet anymore!" A similar discussion takes place in the episode The Inator Method.
In the animated series Galaxy World of Alisa some episodes setting in Pluto, In Pluto has A Museum of Galaxy.
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.
There's a baseball game dedicated to the demotion in 2006 called 'Pluto Strikes Back'.