Guest Post: 7 Reasons Not To Get Too Close To The Sun (Or Even Try)
With the clocks going back, the nights drawing in and the sun on holiday until next April, it could be very tempting to go looking for some rays. As James Bentham tells us though, you don’t want to be going upwards.
The Sun, is really rather useful. It is the root cause of life on our planet and lies at the centre of our solar system some 1.496 x 108 km away. Considering what a ridiculously long way that is, it keeps one side of the Earth nice and toasty, whilst the other side has a rest. Thank goodness the human race was capable of developing that mechanical marvel, the electric heater for those dark times. If, like a moth to a flame, you have a desire to get up and close with the Sun though, a number of terrible things could happen en route.
1. Oxygen Deficiency. You really don’t have to go very far on your journey towards our nearest star before you start getting into trouble. If you decide to venture out of our atmosphere on the rocket you made in your back garden without adequate breathing apparatus, you will quickly discover that it’s difficult to breathe. In fact you won’t be able to at all, due to the lack of oxygen and you will almost certainly be killed to death. Just look at what happened to Schwarzenegger in Total Recall.
2. Chill Factor. If you have had the sense to get some breathing gear, you’ll probably still struggle. Surprisingly, it’s actually really bloody cold once you’re in space. To put a number on it, it is around -270.7 degrees centigrade, otherwise known as absolute zero. So, if you’ve set off on your journey in your shorts and t-shirt, thinking it’s going to be tan-city, you will freeze to death. Nope, even that nice woolly jumper your Gran knitted for you won’t help.
3. Spaceship For Sale. Okay, so by some miracle you have acquired all the necessary gear to survive in space. But how the hell are you actually going to make it closer to the Sun? You’ll definitely need some sort of vehicle, but you’ll probably need a few billion dollars to get one. That’s weeks and weeks of pocket money you’re going to have to save up and even then, you’ll have to befriend an Arab Prince to get enough fuel.
4. Bumpers. Hurrah, you’re on your way! You’ve burst through the Earth’s atmosphere like Roadrunner on crystal meth. Hang on a sec though, here comes another opportunity for disaster. There is a massive amount of man-made detritus floating around in orbit of the earth. With old, broken satellites for ancient phone networks nobody uses any more like, T Mobile or Vodafone, bits of the last shuttle that tried this ridiculous expedition, you’re pretty much guaranteed to crash into something and join that elephant’s graveyard of space crap.
5. Hemorrhoids. If you do manage to successfully navigate the orbital dumping ground, more terrors await in outer space. Stuff whizzes around in space all the time, as once you apply a force to something in space, it will literally keep going in that direction until something stops it. See where I’m going with this? Meteors and other dangerous bits of the universe will fly at you from all directions and unless you have some Han Solo-esque manoeuvres up your sleeve, you’ll be smashed into a thousand pieces.
6. Two’s Company (And Death). As you get ever closer to the Sun, you may notice yourself starting to behave a bit strangely. A recent documentary involving Cillian Murphy and filmed by Danny Boyle, widely respected by the scientific community, demonstrated this. It’s probably not a good idea to take any companions with you, as one of you will fall in love with the beauty of the Sun, go insane and kill everyone aboard your craft. That’s just how it is.
7. Disco Inferno. You made it! Congratu…oh you’ve gone. Yep that’s right, you made it all this way and were instantly incinerated as soon as you got anywhere near. After all the Sun is ridiculously hot you idiot, why even bother, seriously? Even the outside of the Sun is about 100,000 Kelvin, which is way too hot to write in centigrade. Once you get down to the core (which you won’t because you’ll have died a fiery, fiery death) the temperature reaches about 13,600,000 Kelvin. Imagine burning your hand on the cooker, but times about 13,599,999 and you might just have it, but even then…
So there you go, I think we’ve managed to discern that trying to get close to the Sun is a fairly bad idea. To be honest though, we’ve known for centuries. Everyone knows what happened to Icarus, that maverick. His Dad was like “No don’t fly so close you complete moron, I spend hours making those wings! I stank of bird lime for weeks!”. But Icarus was just like “and what?” proceeding to fly towards the Sun without any of the recommended gear only to fall to his watery grave. Surprised? I think not.