what to see on
pluto

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sniff the air on pluto

...In that first confused glimpse, my eyes did not take in the details of the landscape.  Stretching out before me was a broken plain, fantastic and irregular at the floor of a glacier; huge bluish white masses, piled and tumbled together in crazy disorder, were varied by smooth glistening spaces as flat as a table; twenty-foot mounds and hummocks stood up here and there, and long twisted furrows or cracks spread a spidery black network across the scene; while the prevailing hue, in the wintry gray light of the far, far glittering point of a sun, was that eerie, spectral mixture of blue and white, reminding me of the cloud-filtered moonlight peeping down upon a lake of ice.

But all this I was to notice subsequently; in the first bewildered moment of my escape, there was only one thought to dominate my mind.  I must free myself from the gas-mask, whose weight burdened my shoulders, whose confinement had nearly asphyxiated me!  I must unbare my nostrils to the open winds, must drink a reviving draught of actual air!  True, this alien atmosphere might be poison to my lungs; true, the cold might freeze the very blood within my veins – yet I must take the risk; indeed, I was frantic to take the risk, and clutched at the fastenings of my mask with blind desperation.  And within a few minutes, though at first my nervous fingers would not gain any hold, I saw the mask yielding, and felt the burning chill of the outer air against my cheeks.

Colder than ice, the air was yet less cold than I had anticipated.  It did not freeze my flesh, nor did it strike my lungs like a blast of poison; rather it was the most delicious, life-giving breath I ever drew.  It seemed to me that the atmosphere was lighter than on earth – light as on some high mountain peak; but it required no chemical analysis to show that it contained oxygen!...

Stanton A Coblenz, Into Plutonian Depths (Wonder Stories Quarterly, Spring 1931)

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carnivorous crystals of pluto

...She seized his arm, dragging him back.  "They're carbon feeders!  Don't you understand?  They're carbon feeders!  Your body has carbon.  They're - look out!"

Keene started back, realizing that a gray-black, flat-crystalled, dully shining lump was almost at his feet.  He stared at the crawling masses; they had come, apparently, from beyond a jutting wall of rock to his right.  The floor was speckled everywhere with them, and now and again one slipped with a faint tinkle over the edge of the central pit.  But there were hundreds more; one couldn't wait here until the floor had cleared.  He skipped aside; another had silently approached almost to his feet.

He acted...

Stanley G Weinbaum, The Red Peri (Astounding, November 1935)

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the marching mountains of pluto

...he stood petrified for a moment on the rough ice, staring northeastward.  He and his companions looked frozenly up at an awful peril thundering down on them.

The Marching Mountains!  The vast thousand-foot high range of icy hills that was but one of similar glacier-ranges which perpetually moved around the planet!

The forefront of the appalling walking ice-range was a towering, gleaming cliff that was only a few hundred yards from them.  And the whole cliff was advancing on them, moving at an incredible speed of many yards a minute, pushed forward by the vast glacial masses of ice behind it.  From the icy moving cliff fell great bergs and masses of ice, over which the main range moved crushingly as it came on.

"Out of here!" Captain Future yelled.  "We'll have to run for it - this way!"

"There is no use running from the Marching Mountains," cried Tharb hopelessly.  "We cannot get out of their path and they will soon overtake us."

Edmond Hamilton, Captain Future's Challenge (1940)

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