So, are you one of the ones who has bought into this crazy notion that we can . . . or should colonize the moon? Or Mars, or some other distant planet, after we completely destroy planet Earth? I hope and I doubt you are one of those. But there are plenty of people who are.
For them, it’s time for a dose of reality. Mercury, without much of an atmosphere to trap heat, and a scant 36 million miles from the Sun, can reach “daytime” temperatures of 800 degrees Fahrenheit, while the hidden-from-the-sun side can plunge to minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit “overnight”. Average temperature on Mercury is 332 Fahrenheit. Who needs a kiln for your pottery?
Next up is Venus—the second planet from the Sun. And if you thought Mercury was hot, it’s not. Similar in size, density, mass and composition to planet Earth, some refer to Venus as our sister planet or twin. But, because of its heat-trapping dense atmosphere, it’s average is actually nearly three times the average temperature of Mercury—or more than 860 degrees Fahrenheit; hot enough to easily melt lead. In addition, Venus has an unforgiving atmosphere, as well, consisting mainly of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulfuric acid, and scientists have only detected trace amounts of water in the atmosphere.
If we skip past Planet Earth and arrive near the equator of Mars, daytime temperatures might reach a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit. But at night the temperature can plummet to 100 degrees below zero; a shift of some 170 degrees. Minus 100 degrees might actually seem pleasant in the off chance you suddenly found yourself at one of the two poles, where the temperature might drop to -195 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System, a giant gaseous mass, two and half times the mass of all the other planets in the Solar System. But only one-thousandth that of the Sun, to give you a sense of just how large the Sun is, which is 484 million miles away—giving Jupiter an average temperature of minus 234 degrees Fahrenheit.
Saturn, with its famous rings, is some 891 million miles from the Sun, and that giant revolution around the Sun takes 29 Earth years. Another gas giant, and second in size to Jupiter, Saturn’s average temperature is minus 288 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next is Uranus, another gas planet; this one almost 1.8 billion miles from the Sun. Giving it an average temperature of 357 degrees below zero. It takes Uranus 84 years to make one revolution around the Sun. And remember, our Solar System is a spec of sand on a beach the size of Texas in relation to the Milky Way galaxy.
And if you thought Neptune, sounded like a cool place to set up an office—given that Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito both hail from Neptune, NJ., at almost 2.8 billion miles away from the Sun it’s more than cool; at minus 392 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s unbelievably unimaginably cold.
If that’s too cold for you, recently delisted Pluto, even though it’s 3.15 billion miles from the Sun, is a tad warmer, at minus 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Poor Pluto. What did it deserve to be delisted?