You could jump off the solar system's tallest cliff...and survive

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Verona Rupes is a huge cliff face located on Uranus's moon Miranda. It's the tallest cliff in the solar system, as much as twenty kilometers deep. If you jumped off it, you'd fall for twelve minutes...and you could still survive.

This image was taken by Voyager 2 during its flyby of Uranus in 1986. The gigantic ice cliffs are on the right. We don't quite know how deep the cliffs extend - estimates range anywhere from five to twenty kilometers. For the sake of comparison, the tallest straight vertical drop on Earth is generally agreed to be Canada's Mount Thor, where the greatest vertical drop is just 1.25 kilometers.

But here's the crazy thing. Because Miranda is so much smaller than Earth, is gravity is far weaker. That means any space explorer crazy enough to jump off the cliff would fall for over twelve minutes before reaching the ground. Again, in the interest of perspective, a person falling to Earth from the very edge of space would probably only take about two minutes. In the interest of somewhat less helpful perspective, a person falling from the top of Verona Rupes could listen to "Bohemian Rhapsody" all the way through twice before hitting the ground. And what else are you going to do while in freefall?


And now, just to finish off the insanity, that twelve minute fall wouldn't necessarily kill you. You wouldn't even need to worry about a parachute - even something as basic as an airbag would be enough to cushion the fall and let you live. That said, we still recommend that if you are planning a jump off Verona Rupes, do take a parachute with you as well. We promise not to call you a wimp...well, not to your face, anyway.

Via NASA. For more on solar system mountaineering, check out our Rough Guide.