Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just for fun.....

There is only one place in our Solar System outside of the planet Earth where an astronaut could stand outside a vehicle/craft without a pressured spacesuit, with gravity close to our own planet, atmospheric pressure equal to Earth at sea level, and carrying only a bottle of breathable air in what could be termed relatively comfortable temperatures (above freezing and below 100 degrees Fahrenheit)? Now, this isn’t a trick question per se, but you do have to read it carefully. There could be other factors like exposure to radiation that might make wearing a protective spacesuit a good idea, but it is possible for this to occur.

Imagine an astronaut for the very first time feeling the wind and air of another world on his face. Considering this is likely to be the only place this could occur within any reasonable proximity to Earth (within our Solar System), it would seem quite an event, maybe on a par with stepping on the surface on the moon. Where is this place? Maybe the answer will surprise you, but it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out. I’ve given you one very big clue already. A simple process of elimination will get you pretty close, but given what you know and given that is has a relatively hospitable environment would you be in favor of sending astronauts there to explore such a place? How it could be done is almost as fascinating as the fact that it could be done. Now, I’ll let you off the hook from over thinking where this place might be just a little, since for all the pluses about it exploring it, there are many many more minuses. This is why we haven’t done it. We could debate the scientific value of such a mission, for as intriguing as it sounds I don’t know that I see the value right now, but it might be one that is getting more relevant year after year. Well, you ponder this one for a little while. I’ll post the answer in a few days.