# Thread: How far is it from the Butt of Lewis to Uranus?

1. How far is it from Earth to the outer planets, from Jupiter to Neptune, and would it be possible for life to exixt on the moons of these the remotest of worlds?

2.

3. anything is possible if you don't know what you are taking about

4. Because all planets orbit the sun, the distance varies, since at some times both will be on the same side of the sun, but at other times, on opposite sides.

Here is a quick breakdown of the distance from Earth to the 4 giants (We use metric in Canada, so if you want miles, you can convert yourself) give or take a few thousand km's:

Jupiter's Minimum Distance from Earth:

588,404,520 km

Jupiter's Maximum Distance from Earth:

968,460,580 km

Saturn's Minimum Distance from Earth:

1,195,772,020 km

Saturn's Maximum Distance from Earth

1,658,854,980 km

Uranus's Minimum Distance from Earth:

2,582,694,020 km

Uranus's Maximum Distance from Earth

3,159,769,980 km

Neptune's Minimum Distance from Earth:

4,306,660,020 km

Neptune's Maximum Distance from Earth

4,686,510,980 km

You're on your own with the 'possibility of life' question. That's subject to debate.

5. I like your signature wurm

Technology makes it possible. We can create habitats, and we can travel to these places, but it would take lots of time and collective energy.

If the earth were to unite like in Star Trek, to voyage beyond blah blah blah. Then maybe this is a possibility, but so long as monetary greed is the predominant factor in society, it doesn't seem likely.

Unless of course the profit margin for doing such things surfaces above the red.

Nonetheless it is possible, but not likely in our lifetimes.

6. Our biggest problem is that we do not have a decent rocket fuel. The Voyager space craft have gone past Neptune's orbit but it takes so long to get there with present technology. However, a sudden new discovery or breakthrough any time might mean we could easily visit those planets within a few weeks of flight.

If alien life existed in the outer solar system, it would be more likely on the gas giants, notably Jupiter which is fairly warm some way down into the atmosphere. There is a reasonable collection of chemicals present. To quote the wiki:

The atmosphere contains trace amounts of methane, water vapor, ammonia, and silicon-based compounds. There are also traces of carbon, ethane, hydrogen sulfide, neon, oxygen, phosphine, and sulfur. The outermost layer of the atmosphere contains crystals of frozen ammonia.Through infrared and ultraviolet measurements, trace amounts of benzene and other hydrocarbons have also been found.

As well as lightning to mix them. It is not impossible that there could be some kind of life floating about in the denser parts of the lower atmosphere. Saturn has 1,000 mile an hour winds. Double the speed and multiply the pick up power by five so a 1,000 mph wind is 125 times as powerful as a 125 mph wind, so unlikely that anything would survive there. However a few of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn have been suggested as possibilities.

Uranus and Neptune are very cold. It is vaguely possible that some life might exist there which would literally be explosive in an environment like ours, at such high temperatures. There has been talk of silicon life in the past which undergoes similar reactions to carbon but at higher temperatures, which could exist on a planet like Mercury.

7. Originally Posted by Cyberia
If alien life existed in the outer solar system, it would be more likely on the gas giants, notably Jupiter which is fairly warm some way down into the atmosphere.
How would it handle the radiation levels?

8. Originally Posted by wurmf3edr
Because all planets orbit the sun, the distance varies, since at some times both will be on the same side of the sun, but at other times, on opposite sides.

Here is a quick breakdown of the distance from Earth to the 4 giants (We use metric in Canada, so if you want miles, you can convert yourself) give or take a few thousand km's:

Jupiter's Minimum Distance from Earth:

588,404,520 km

Jupiter's Maximum Distance from Earth:

968,460,580 km

Saturn's Minimum Distance from Earth:

1,195,772,020 km

Saturn's Maximum Distance from Earth

1,658,854,980 km

Uranus's Minimum Distance from Earth:

2,582,694,020 km

Uranus's Maximum Distance from Earth

3,159,769,980 km

Neptune's Minimum Distance from Earth:

4,306,660,020 km

Neptune's Maximum Distance from Earth

4,686,510,980 km
Thanks for the numbers Wurm; I didn't realise there was such significant variation in distance between the planets. I'm no expert as you can see from the eloquence of my question. Thanks

9. Originally Posted by John Galt
How would it handle the radiation levels?
Some types of bacteria have an immunity to it. Cockroaches have some immunity to radiation:

Their ability to withstand radiation is very interesting. They have a very hard outer shell or exoskeleton, which is less prone to absorb radiation. Their skin molts, which means shedding, and this removes the radiation. In addition, they have an unusual different chromosome structure, which is difficult for radiation to shatter. The butterfly is similar to the cockroach in this respect.

http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/y...cockroach.html

It is not impossible that something which is not just immune to radiation but thrives on it might have evolved in a radioactive environment.

10. The harm radiation does is by breaking down DNA. There are DNA repair mechanisms in every organism, including humans. Ours is not as good as that for some creatures. There are any number of organisms that can handle cosmic radiation easily, due to extra active DNA repair.

Some bacteria even depend on radioactivity for energy!
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1019192814.htm

11. Can they handle a million rads? (400 rads will produce a 50% fatality rate in humans.)

12. the main factor is not whether it is possible for something to exist in such an environment, but whether or not something can evolve from such an environment.

I don't know much about this sort of thing, but I will wager that the radiation resistance known in existing things today took a very long time to develop. Of course this is a blind assumption.

13. Don't know exactly how many rads, but the following might be of iterest.
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/175015_bugs26.html

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