No, you cannot walk on the surface of Uranus.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Can You Walk On Uranus? (EXPLAINED)
Introduction To Uranus
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun in our solar system, and it is the third biggest after Jupiter and Saturn.
But unlike Saturn and Jupiter, Uranus isn’t known as a “gas giant.”
Like Neptune, Uranus is actually called an “ice giant.”
The planet of Uranus is composed of hydrogen and helium (like Saturn and Jupiter), but it also has more weighty elements such as oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.
The outer atmospheric shell of Uranus is made of hydrogen and helium, and underneath that, the planet is made of compressed water, methane, and ammonia.
We don’t know for sure what the core of Uranus is like.
Some scientists hypothesize that the core is highly pressurized liquid, a slush of water and ammonia ice.
Other scientists hypothesize that there’s a layer of carbon at or near the core of the planet, compressed into diamond blocks.
Others argue still that the core is liquid carbon.
The reason Uranus is called an “ice giant” isn’t because it is a solid block of ice orbiting the sun.
Instead, it is called an ice giant because of its size (huge), and because it is composed largely of water, methane, and ammonia, some of which is in it’s icy form.
The Surface Of Uranus Isn’t Solid
The primary reason that humans cannot walk or stand on the surface of Uranus is that the surface isn’t solid.
Most of Uranus underneath its gaseous atmosphere appears to be composed of a slushy mixture of water, methane, and ammonia.
Some of these materials are in their ice form.
And, while there might be some ice, it doesn’t form a solid or stable platform that we could land on or walk on.
But let’s say that underneath the icy waters, there was something solid, like an icy core or a diamond core as scientists theorize exists.
You’d still have to find a way to reach that solid core.
And then, if you managed to get there, you’d be in a liquid, trying to walk.
Second, you’d be near the core of the planet.
The pressure would kill you and destroy your spacecraft (think about the amount of pressure required to turn carbon/graphite into a diamond) well before you got anywhere near anything solid.
If you tried to land a spaceship on Uranus, you would sink beneath the liquid surface of the planet unless you had a way to float on the slushy liquid.
Needless to say, a stroll on Uranus (if we could find a way to get a human there without dying) wouldn’t happen.
Did You Know? (Other Facts About Uranus)
Here are some facts you may not have known about Uranus:
- The methane in the planet’s atmosphere gives Uranus the blue color we recognize.
- Uranus is really windy, with speeds that can exceed 500 miles per hour.
- Uranus was first identified in the 1700s, though the astronomer didn’t realize that what he’d observed was actually a planet. Uranus was originally believed to be a comet or a star.
- Uranus is close to 2 billion miles from the sun. In contrast, Earth is only about 91 million miles from the sun.
- Uranus spins around completely once every 17-18 Earth hours. To compare, Saturn (bigger than Uranus) rotates fully around once in about 10 Earth hours, and Jupiter also rotates fully once every 10 Earth hours.
- It takes Uranus more than 83 Earth years to fully orbit the sun. To compare, it takes Pluto 248 Earth years to orbit the sun, and it takes Saturn 29 Earth years to make the same trip.
- Like Saturn, Uranus has rings. In fact, it has two sets of rings. There is an inner set of rings (9 of them) and an outer set of rings (2 of them). The inner set is reddish in color, and the outer set is bluish in color.
- Uranus has moons! Quite a few of them, actually. So far, we have identified more than 25 moons circling Uranus, though most of them are pretty small. Many of the moons of Uranus are named after characters made famous in classic literary works, such as Oberon, Puck, Cressida, Perdita, Titania, Mab, Margaret, Rosalind, and Juliet.
- Uranus is thought to be more than 4 billion years old.
- To give you an idea of how far away Uranus is from Earth, the Voyager 2 spacecraft that was launched in 1977 took close to 9 years to reach Uranus.
- Uranus does not rotate the same direction as Earth does (it goes the opposite way).
- The core of Uranus is thought to be hot (like 5,000 Kelvin). This is not far off from Earth’s core, whic is estimated to be between 4,000 and 7,000 Kelvin. But even as hot as it is, Uranus is quite a bit cooler than some of the other giants. Jupiter’s core is thought to be around 24,000 to 30,000 Kelvin, while Saturn’s core is thought to be around 15,000 Kelvin.
- The gravity near the liquid surface of Uranus is close to the gravity of Earth, though about 10% less. So if you weighed 200lbs on Earth, you’d weigh about 180 lbs on Uranus.
Uranus is a fascinating planet, and we look forward to learning more about it as the progress of space exploration continues.
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