What happens if you try to fly an airplane to Mercury, Venus, or any other planet in our solar system? Neither you nor your plane can survive any of these attempts. The harsh conditions on all these planets will destroy both you and your aircraft in many different and horrific ways. But how exactly would this have happened? Randall Monroe, creator of the popular webcomic xkcd, explores the different ways you would crash and die in his entertaining book What If? Serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions. " Here are some of his answers.
Airplanes use the air on Earth to create a difference in pressure below and above their wings, resulting in lift. But on Mercury, the atmosphere is almost invisible. If there was a full-fledged gas envelope, it completely dissipated soon after the planet was formed: about 4.6 billion years ago. This could have happened due to low gravity, as well as due to its proximity to the Sun, which "blew" it away with its solar wind. This means that if you flew off a cliff in an airplane, you would fall like this airplane.
The atmosphere of Venus is 60 times denser than Earth. This is sufficient to create lift. However, the increased density and special composition of the atmosphere (96.5% it consists of carbon dioxide) cause a very powerful greenhouse effect. The lower layers of the atmosphere retain heat in a manner similar to that in a greenhouse. As a result, the temperature reaches 200 degrees Celsius. This air is hot enough to melt lead and, incidentally, ignite your aircraft.
The atmosphere on Mars is significantly different from that of the earth, both in chemical composition and in physical parameters. It consists of carbon dioxide (95%) with admixtures of nitrogen, argon, oxygen and other gases. And most importantly, it is 100 more rarefied than the earth. Therefore, the aircraft must move at a speed of about Mach 1 (1, 2 thousand km / s) in order to create the necessary pressure difference above and below the wings for takeoff. Once in the air, you will fly too fast to be able to control the plane.
Jupiter has tremendous gravity. Here the plane will weigh 2, 3 times more than on Earth, so you need triple strength to fly. Instead of a sharp fall, the plane will be somewhat held in the atmosphere, so that you will glide at a speed of about 1,000 km / h towards the center. But Jupiter is also hellish cold (the temperature at the top edge of the cloud is about minus 145 degrees Celsius). If you do not freeze, you will be crushed by the enormous weight of the atmosphere.
To fly on Saturn, you will need approximately the same amount of energy as on Earth. However, with an average temperature of about –170 ° C, Saturn is a rather cool planet. So eventually you will freeze and start falling towards the center, like on Jupiter.
Uranus is a very dark and cold place. It moves around the Sun in an almost circular orbit at a distance of about 19.2 AU. and makes one revolution in 84 years. The illumination created by the Sun at such a distance is 390 times less than the illumination in the Earth's orbit.The effective temperature of Uranus is only about minus 210 degrees Celsius. Here you and your plane will weigh less than on Earth, so you can fly until the fuel turns into a huge piece of ice.
Neptune has the fastest winds among the planets in the solar system. At high latitudes, the wind blows in the direction of the planet's rotation. The highest wind speed was measured at 70th southern latitude - 300 m / s. In low latitudes, the wind blows parallel to the equator in the opposite direction, its speed is about 100 m / s. If you were caught in a storm on Neptune, your plane, which had cooled down to –220 ° C, would have been reduced to shreds by turbulence.
The land is an ideal destination for plane flights with amazing views. The average temperature on Earth is 7.2 degrees Celsius. You will not freeze, you will not be crushed by the huge mass of the atmosphere, you and your plane will not be torn to shreds. Try it yourself if you haven't flown yet.