Wandering around in nothing but your birthday suit may be a liberating, if somewhat socially unacceptable, experience here on Earth, but try doing it on other planets in our Solar System and you’ll have more problems than just a public indecency order to contend with. As everyone knows, the lack of oxygen, extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressures of our planetary neighbors don’t make for ideal conditions if you’re an earthling.
All this begs the question, which planet would you last the longest on without a space suit? Fortunately, the mighty brain of Neil deGrasse Tyson has been recruited to answer that most burning of questions, as you can see in the video below.
Obviously, visiting other planets comes with all sorts of complications. For instance, aside from the threat of suffocation, low pressures experienced outside of our protective atmosphere can also cause ebullism, whereby the boiling point of all body fluids drops to below body temperature, whipping them up into a bubbling rage.
Not that you’d have much time to worry about that if you took a trip to our star instead, where you’d vaporize pretty much instantly. It’s a different story on Mercury, though, where half the planet faces the Sun and is therefore extremely hot, while the other half faces away and is the exact opposite. By straddling the two hemispheres and “rotating like a rotisserie chicken,” you might have a chance of maintaining a reasonable overall body temperature, and, according to deGrasse Tyson, could last for as long as you can hold your breath.
No such luck on Venus or Mars, though, with the surface of the former being hot enough to melt lead, and the second dropping lower than -150oC (-225oF).
As far as the gas giants are concerned, deGrasse Tyson says you can just “forget about it.” Not only is there no surface to land on, but the atmospheric pressure would crush you. All in all, unless you’ve got yourself a suit like the new Z-2 that NASA hopes will one day be worn on Mars, you’re better off keeping it terrestrial.