It is claimed that Russia is the same size as (or bigger than) Pluto. Today we’ll take a closer look at this claim.
It Depends on How You Look at it.
When NASA’s New Horizon’s mission buzzed by Pluto in July 2015, the decades-long debate about the dwarf planet’s size was finally answered. In terms of diameter, Pluto was found to be 2370 kilometers (1473 miles) across, which would easily fit within Russia’s largest east-to-west width of 10,000 km. It would also fit within the largest north-to-south size of 4000 km.
Using previous estimates, Russia edged out Pluto, at 17,075,200 square kilometers, while Pluto was thought to be 16,647,940 square kilometers. After the New Horizons mission, Pluto was found to be slightly larger than estimated, making its surface area 17,646,012 square kilometers, which is larger than Russia.
Universe Today summed up the comparison by stating that the surface area of Pluto is “about the same surface area as Russia.”
Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was originally classified as the 9th planet in the solar system. In 2006 it was re-classified as a dwarf planet, and rumors have swirled since then about the possible reinstatement of planet status.
Pluto was visited by the New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015 and its size was finally clarified by measurements of that mission.
The claim stating that Russia has a slightly larger surface area than Pluto was thought to be true until New Horizons passed by the dwarf planet in 2015. Pluto is slightly larger than Russia in terms of surface area
- How Big is Pluto? (Universe Today: September 8, 2009)
- Russia (Encyclopedia of the Nations)
- Pluto (Solar System Exploration, NASA)
Updated May 10, 2016
Originally published August 2013