Neptune – The Furthest Planet (Or not)

posted in: Blog, Science, Writing | 0

Everyone who follows me gets it by now – I refuse to relinquish Pluto to “secondary” status. But that doesn’t mean the “second furthest” planet doesn’t deserve some attention.

Neptune is a very interesting planet in its own right, even if it is only “second to last” away from the Sun. This is a great article to read up on Neptune, but I’ll summarize some of the more fascinating tidbits here.

Although it takes about 165 Earth years for Neptune to make a single revolution around the Sun, the Neptunian day is only about 16 Earth hours. Imagine if Earth had that. Wake up, get ready, go to work, have about 2 hours of work, then go back home, eat dinner, and go to bed. Rinse, repeat. Winters would be mighty cold, though – The temperature in Neptune’s atmosphere is nearly minus 373 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 225 degrees Celsius, according to the National Air and Space Museum.

Neptune has winds of up to 1,200 miles an hour, the fastest known in our solar system. Seasons last about 40 years. 14 moons orbit around Neptune, as do at least 5 rings. Unlike Jupiter and Saturn, which are “gas giants”, Neptune (and Uranus) are considered to be “ice giants” because they contain more ice forming molecules. Even so, it is thought Neptune may contain a super-hot ocean beneath the clouds.

As a writer, I read these articles and my thoughts naturally turn toward the “what if’s”. What if there is life on Neptune? What if we could live on Neptune? What if we could live on one or more of Neptune’s moons? What if Neptune contains unbelievable treasures we need to mine, whether we can live there or not?

Take a step back and immerse yourself in an alternate reality. How would surviving seasons of 40 years really impact our minds and spirits? What about the blistering cold? What if the energy from the super-hot ocean was harvested to provide warmth to the colonists? Now we have a source of heat humans can survive with, as long as we build the mechanism to extract that heat into a livable habitat. But if something happened to that mechanism then the lives of everyone in the colony would be in jeopardy!

‘The protagonist stares up from his floating platform into the murky green sky illuminated by three of the fourteen moons, the shimmering rings casting long shadows across the bubbling ocean below.”

What kind of story would YOU write? Share with us in the comments below!