Pluto's near-infrared reflectance spectrum shows characteristic vibration absorptions of CH4, N2, and CO condensed as ices on Pluto's surface. Long term monitoring of Pluto's spectrum from 1995 through present provides constraints on the evolution of these ices driven by seasonal volatile transport cycles. However, seasonal trends must be disentangled from spectral changes caused by continually-changing viewing geometry coupled with the heterogeneous regional distributions of Pluto's ices.
Will Grundy is a team member on the RALPH instrument onboard New Horizons and he will give the latest news on observations of Pluto before the upcoming encounter in 2016.
Watch a hangout On-Air with Will Grundy, Angela Zalucha, and Franck Marchis about New Horizons. #SETITalks