Are there any known natural locations (i.e. not counting ISS) in our solar system (outside of Earth) where a human being in street clothes (i.e. without a spacesuit or other specialized equipment) could survive for a few minutes?

If not, which known locations come the closest to that?

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    $\begingroup$ Titan has a similar atmospheric pressure to Earth's, but its atmosphere is unbreathable & the temperature is too cold, at -179.5 C. Floating at a particular elevation in the atmosphere if Venus, might be possible, but all other celestial bodies, in our solar system, are too hostile for us to be able to walk on them without some form of survival equipment. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Sep 18, 2022 at 3:17
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    $\begingroup$ No other body in the solar system has an oxygen atmosphere. $\endgroup$ Sep 18, 2022 at 3:18
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    $\begingroup$ The world record for static apnea (holding your breath underwater, without any movement) is just shy of 12 minutes for males and over 9 minutes for females. The Guinness Book World Record for holding your breath is almost 25 minutes (with pre-breathing of pure oxygen which is not allowed by official AIDA rules, hence the large difference in the two records) for males and over 18 minutes for females. So, oxygen in the atmosphere is not necessarily a requirement for the "several minutes" of survival. $\endgroup$ Sep 18, 2022 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ What exactly do you mean with survive ? Survive while being conscious, or cooled down as in the answer below ? And should the natural location be accessible with nowadays means ? $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Sep 18, 2022 at 11:03
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    $\begingroup$ @OP, if that is your criteria, you could be teleported to the hard vacuum of space for maybe a little over a minute, and if you were teleported back to Earth's surface right away, after a few minutes of recovery you probably would not even need medical attention. The one caveat is if you were holding your breath, your lungs might rupture, although I question if it would even be possible to hold your breath, as air would rush out your nose due to the pressure difference. Psychological recovery might take quite a bit longer... $\endgroup$
    – RC_23
    Sep 19, 2022 at 1:32

2 Answers 2


As already commented by Fred, Venus is your best bet. Not at surface level – both temperature and pressure are way too high there – but at ca. 50 km elevation, where both are actually quite similar to Earth at sea-level.

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(From Wikipedia)

Of course, the sulfuric acid would start eating on you, but the concentration isn't that high, so you would certainly survive for a while. Keep your eyes shut and don't breathe in – you would only get CO₂ anyway, which would of course quickly suffocate you. But people can survive some minutes of holding their breath, so that's ok.

None of the other inner planets or their moons have nearly enough of an atmosphere. The body can tolerate vacuum much worse than oxygen-less atmosphere. Further out, namely Jupiter, Saturn and Titan, you do find atmospheres where you could have enough pressure, but only at very cold temperature. I suppose you might survive some minutes on Titan in Antarctic-grade clothing, but hardly in street clothing.

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    $\begingroup$ Without an aircraft (Is a balloon or other aircraft specialized equipment?), you'd reach the ground in just over a hundred seconds. $\endgroup$
    – Joooeey
    Sep 18, 2022 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Joooeey Venus's atmosphere is so thick, that a Venus Flagship Probe Proposal (PDF, see graphic on page 23) estimates that free-falling (after backshell separation) from 59 km with a downward velocity of 28 m/s, it will take 55 minutes to reach the surface. $\endgroup$
    – Nick T
    Sep 19, 2022 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ @NickT would that be long enough to corrode the guy in street clothes before he hits the ground? $\endgroup$
    – bobflux
    Sep 19, 2022 at 9:53
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    $\begingroup$ @bobflux the fall is much faster at the survivable altiture (basically same as a fall on Earth). Only as you get into the denser parts of the atmosphere do you slow down, but then it's probably the pressure-cooking that you should worry about first, not the acid. $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2022 at 10:54
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    $\begingroup$ @ZOMVID-21 60 bar in temperate water while breathing a carefully pressure-adjusted heliox mixture, that's one thing. Rapidly falling into 60 bar of 200°C hot CO₂ is an entirely different story. $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2022 at 17:26

No place other than Earth has available oxygen. This limits survivability.

Nevertheless, if a body is cooled down significantly, the immediate deadly effects of anoxia can be pushed away as much as over an hour.

Universitetsykehuset i Nord-Norge (University Hospital of North Norway) has seen a few dozen cases of drowning in cold environments over the years. About 30% survive, with the lowest surviving body temperature being 13.7 ºC.

Yes, Hypotermia is a likely death. But better a probable death than a certain one.

Consider then the hypothesized oceans below the ice of Europa or Enceladus as "short-term survivable locations". Given specialized care not too long after being submerged in them, you have some chance of surviving.

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    $\begingroup$ Hence one of the cardinal rules of emergency medicine: they ain't dead until they're warm and dead. $\endgroup$ Sep 18, 2022 at 11:41
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    $\begingroup$ If you reason this way, the subsurface of Mars would also be a location where a body could survive. Where would you need an ocean for then ? $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Sep 18, 2022 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Cornelis Would the subsurface of Mars be warm enough? apparently yes, so that's another place. Might be even more inaccessible though. $\endgroup$ Sep 18, 2022 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Corey thermodynamically, yes, but kinetically, not really. Such things take some amount of time, things won't just 'explode'. For an extreme comparison, diamonds aren't 'exploding' into graphite. $\endgroup$
    – Nick T
    Sep 19, 2022 at 16:47

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