Space Science Reviews

, Volume 140, Issue 1–4, pp 315–385 | Cite as

The Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI) on the New Horizons Mission

  • Ralph L. McNuttJr.Email author
  • Stefano A. Livi
  • Reid S. Gurnee
  • Matthew E. Hill
  • Kim A. Cooper
  • G. Bruce Andrews
  • Edwin P. Keath
  • Stamatios M. Krimigis
  • Donald G. Mitchell
  • Barry Tossman
  • Fran Bagenal
  • John D. Boldt
  • Walter Bradley
  • William S. Devereux
  • George C. Ho
  • Stephen E. Jaskulek
  • Thomas W. LeFevere
  • Horace Malcom
  • Geoffrey A. Marcus
  • John R. Hayes
  • G. Ty Moore
  • Mark E. Perry
  • Bruce D. Williams
  • Paul WilsonIV
  • Lawrence E. Brown
  • Martha B. Kusterer
  • Jon D. Vandegriff
Open Access


The Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI) comprises the hardware and accompanying science investigation on the New Horizons spacecraft to measure pick-up ions from Pluto’s outgassing atmosphere. To the extent that Pluto retains its characteristics similar to those of a “heavy comet” as detected in stellar occultations since the early 1980s, these measurements will characterize the neutral atmosphere of Pluto while providing a consistency check on the atmospheric escape rate at the encounter epoch with that deduced from the atmospheric structure at lower altitudes by the ALICE, REX, and SWAP experiments on New Horizons. In addition, PEPSSI will characterize any extended ionosphere and solar wind interaction while also characterizing the energetic particle environment of Pluto, Charon, and their associated system. First proposed for development for the Pluto Express mission in September 1993, what became the PEPSSI instrument went through a number of development stages to meet the requirements of such an instrument for a mission to Pluto while minimizing the required spacecraft resources. The PEPSSI instrument provides for measurements of ions (with compositional information) and electrons from 10 s of keV to ∼1 MeV in a 160°×12° fan-shaped beam in six sectors for 1.5 kg and ∼2.5 W.


New Horizons PEPSSI Pluto Energetic particle instrument 



One Pulse Per Second


Analog-to-digital converter


Applied Physics Laboratory


Application specific integrated circuit


Command and Data Handling


Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems


Constant Fraction Discriminator


Charge Sensitive Amplifier


Electron Volt


Flexible Image Transport System


Field of View


Full Width Half Maximum


Ground support equipment


Goddard Space Flight Center


Header Data Unit


High Voltage Section of HVPS


High Voltage Power Supply (HV and Bias Supply Sections)


Integrated Electronics Module


Instrument Ground Support Equipment


Interface Control Document


Instrument Transfer Frame


Leading Edge Discriminator


Micro-channel plate


Mission Independent Data Layer


Master Data Manager


Mission Elapsed Time


Moment of inertia


Not applicable


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


New Horizons


nanosecond=10−9 s


Planetary Data System


Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation


Pluto Fast Flyby


Pulse height analysis


Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program


picosecond=10−12 s


Pounds per square inch


Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator


Structured Query Language


Solid-state detector


Solid-state recorder


Supplemented Telemetry Packet


Southwest Research Institute


Time-to-digital chip


Time of flight


Temperature remote input/output




Universal asynchronous receive and transmit


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph L. McNuttJr.
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefano A. Livi
    • 2
  • Reid S. Gurnee
    • 1
  • Matthew E. Hill
    • 1
  • Kim A. Cooper
    • 1
  • G. Bruce Andrews
    • 1
  • Edwin P. Keath
    • 1
  • Stamatios M. Krimigis
    • 1
    • 3
  • Donald G. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Barry Tossman
    • 1
  • Fran Bagenal
    • 4
  • John D. Boldt
    • 1
  • Walter Bradley
    • 1
  • William S. Devereux
    • 1
  • George C. Ho
    • 1
  • Stephen E. Jaskulek
    • 1
  • Thomas W. LeFevere
    • 1
  • Horace Malcom
    • 1
  • Geoffrey A. Marcus
    • 1
  • John R. Hayes
    • 1
  • G. Ty Moore
    • 1
  • Mark E. Perry
    • 1
  • Bruce D. Williams
    • 1
  • Paul WilsonIV
    • 1
  • Lawrence E. Brown
    • 1
  • Martha B. Kusterer
    • 1
  • Jon D. Vandegriff
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Physics LaboratoryThe John Hopkins UniversityLaurelUSA
  2. 2.Southwest Research InstituteSan AntonioUSA
  3. 3.Academy of AthensAthensGreece
  4. 4.The University of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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