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The Most Dangerous Places in the Solar System

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There are some swell places to visit in the Solar System, but there are also a few places that it might be best to avoid. There are some grand vacation places — the rim of Mariner Valley on Mars comes to mind, or the ice fountains of Enceladus — but there are some places that you might be better off just reading about.

The Himalayas of Venus, the view of Jupiter from Io, being able to see the entire solar system in one glance from Pluto — all of these have places have some pretty nasty price tags attached. Here are the seven most dangerous places in the entire Solar System.


1. Io
In spite of boasting a spectacular view of the giant planet Jupiter, constant volcanic eruptions and huge flows of molten sulfur would make trekking around the landscape a little dicey. Even without the possibility of being blown up or fried, you'd have to deal with a deadly radiation field that would be pouring 3600 rems into you every day. You get about 0.1 rem per year on earth, so you work out the figures.


2. Venus
Crushing pressure, sulfuric acid rain, 700-degree temperatures. If you want to see Venus' towering Maxwell Mountains you better look fast — because it'd be a race to see whether you'd be crushed, incinerated or dissolved first.

3. Just about any comet
In addition to an unstable, perpetually erupting surface, it possesses an "atmosphere" consisting largely of gravel. Being on a comet that is "calving" — or disintegrating into big chunks like a glacier — would be worse. Even worse yet: a sun-grazing comet that is disintegrating like — well, like a snowball in hell, as it zooms through the outer atmosphere of the star.


4. The surface of Pluto
A surface containing oxygen frozen hard as steel with lakes of liquid neon. On a clear day the sun provides about as much heat and light as a full moon does back on earth. With Pluto's surface temperature at -378 to -396 F (-228 to -238 C) you'd freeze solid in a nanosecond so it at least it probably wouldn't hurt.


5. Inside the rings of Saturn
Playing dodge-em with 40 zillion icebergs probably sounds like more fun that it really would be.


6. The hydrogen sea of Jupiter
You just don't want to be anywhere near there, trust me. Somewhere far beneath Jupiter's clouds and the core of the planet may lie a sea of liquid hydrogen, lit only be the glow of titanic bolts of lightning. Below this the pressure continues to rise until ordinary liquid hydrogen is compressed into liquid metallic hydrogen, of all things.


7. Titan
Intense cold and a dense, poisonous atmosphere...and if you needed any more reason to keep the windows and doors shut, it's an atmosphere which would be explosive if accidentally mixed with oxygen!