It’s easy to look out into the night sky and imagine the wonders and possibilities that await us among the stars. Tons of science fiction movies have been made about venturing into the cosmos, and as many of those movies show, space isn’t exactly hospitable. In fact, our solar system is essentially a collection of giant death traps. Which is too bad, because, like, you really want to go to Jupiter, right? Wouldn’t that be cool? But pretty much everywhere that isn’t Earth will destroy you; the deadliest places in the solar system are also the coolest.
In addition to lava-spewing volcanoes, ice volcanoes, and lakes of noxious gas, some planets have storms so strong they’ll rip the flesh off your bones. The good news about all these places is they’d kill you really quickly. So, if you’re in a morbid and cosmic mood, check out our list of the scariest, worst places to die in the solar system below.
Eviscerated by Flying Ice Shards on Neptune
Neptune is so far from the sun – about 2.8 billion miles – it takes it 165 years to make a single passaround the star. An ice giant, the mammoth planet’s atmosphere contains swirling water and shards of ice. Neptune also has wind gusts reaching speeds of 700 miles per hour. At that speed, the wind itself would flay you. The ice in the atmosphere is a nasty little bonus.
Saturn sure is beautiful. The rings, the swirling colors, the light breeze. Yes, as it turns out, winds on Saturn gust at about 1,118 miles per hour. So, if you’re scared of being crushed by the pressure within this gas giant, don’t worry. You’ll be ripped to shreds by the wind before you implode.
Imploded and Electrocuted Amidst Jupiter’s 300-year-old Storms
Minced in Searing Solar Winds En Route to the Heliosphere
Neptune got a little greedy in the satellite sweepstakes, and ended up with 13 moons. One of these moons, Triton, is among the coldest places in the solar system, with surface temperatures of around -391 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparison’s sake, 0 degrees Kelvin, the coldest possible temperature, at which atoms stop moving, is about -460 degrees Fahrenheit.
Triton is also one of four volcanically active bodes in the solar system; it’s pockmarked with cryovolcanoes, or, volcanoes that spew ice and ammonia. If Io is hell, Triton is its frozen equivalent. You’d freeze immediately, and you might get eviscerated by ice flying from a cryovolcano.
Incinerated and Obliterated by a 4.4 Nonillion Lb Sphere of Flaming Gas
How You’re Actually Going to Die on Earth
On your home planet, you have the luxury of dying slowly thanks to disease, torture, poisoned water, black lung, poverty, and countless other things. Even quick ends on Earth, from beheading to elephant trampling, take a lot longer and are far more painful than imploding in a matter of seconds on Venus or freezing in an instant on Pluto.
Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons, is surrounded by a layer of ice, but this ice isn’t frozen to the planet. Rather, it exists as a sort of atmosphere. Because jets of water spew through the ice from time to time, scientists theorize that a massive ocean covers the moon’s surface. Sounds kinda cool. But also kind of like the worst thing imaginable.
Because the moon is littered with hydrothermal vents that spew water vapor and ice at about 800 miles per hour. If the ice shards don’t rip you apart, the water vapor would send you spiraling into space.
Cold and Alone on Pluto
A dwarf planet stuck at the fringes of the solar system, Pluto is about 3.7 billion miles from the sun. It must get very lonely. And also very, very cold.
Average temperatures hover around -390 Fahrenheit, only one degree warmer than Neptune’s frigid moon, Triton, and only 70 degrees warmer than absolute zero, a temperature so cold it’s essentially impossible.
Titan is a strange place. Its atmosphere contains methane, which is typically burned up by the sun. Since Titan gets a fair amount of sun, it must have a natural sources of methane to replenish its supply. Know what else is interesting?
Methane, a gas, turns to liquid at about -260 degrees Fahrenheit, and the surface temperature on Titan hovers around -290 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you’ll definitely freeze, but, uniquely, you may get to do so in a rushing river of methane. If you somehow survive the temperature, you may drown in methane, or in jets of water shot from cryovolcanoes.
Destroyed Riding a Comet in a Blaze of Glory