5 such impossible things that can only happen on other planets, but why and how?

Abhinav Chandra
Published in
5 min readOct 10, 2020


NASA/JPL-Caltech, Public Domain, Government Image

There are some things that are just not possible on our planet. It would certainly be understandable that you would think that if it’s impossible here on Earth, then it would be impossible everywhere else in the universe. But that’s simply not the case. And the universe is far stranger than any of us can actually believe. Let’s begin with shadows.

Your shadow on Earth is always alone and you’re always used to seeing it this way as it follows during the day. You’re also used to seeing everyone else with just one shadow, but this isn’t a universal thing that would be experienced elsewhere. You have one shadow because our primary light source on Earth is our sun.

But what would happen if there were two suns?

A planet that orbits two stars would look much like Tatooine from Star Wars, with two brilliant sunsets each day and two shadows instead of one for each person. It used to only be science fiction until the planet Kepler-16b was discovered, which is a place that orbits two different stars. If you were suddenly teleported to the surface of the planet, you would likely die from the extreme temperatures and lack of air to breathe. But assuming that you were teleported in a suit that could help you survive, then you would experience having two different shadows. A friend for your always lonely shadow that you experience on Earth.

Our next extremely bizarre place is a planet that is likely completely covered in water. An ocean planet named GJ1214-b. The planet is several times larger than the Earth, which makes the Pacific Ocean on our planet seem like a puddle in comparison. Even though water covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface, water only accounts for 0,005% of the Earth’s total mass. On GJ1214-b however, water may account for up to 10% of the planet’s total mass. Which means that the entire planet would be covered in an ocean hundreds of kilometers deep. Our own ocean goes down only a mere eleven kilometers and we already have terrifying monsters like this, and this, or huge whales like this. So, one’s imagination can run absolutely wild with what fantastical monsters could exist in an ocean that’s over 10 times deeper than our own.

Who knows what could be lurking there if you crash-landed your ship on the surface. But what is known is that at the very bottom of this massive ocean, hundreds of kilometers beneath the surface, the pressure would be so intense that the water at the bottom would be transformed into an exotic form of ice known as Ice 7. This ice wouldn’t be like ice that you know on Earth. It wouldn’t be cold at all, but would remain in a solid form. This doesn’t happen naturally on Earth, but neither does our next bizarre example. Weather on Earth is often violent and unpredictable, but it’s extremely tame compared to other places in the universe. Take the planet COROT-7b for example, where instead of raining water it rains down rocks. This is because half of the planet is scorching hot at 2,600 C, while the other half is far cooler at 177 C. The temperature on the hot side is enough to vaporize rocks. And just like how water will evaporate and condense into clouds on Earth, so too will rock condense into rock clouds on this planet. These strange rock clouds will then rain liquid rock or magma back onto the surface. But since the atmosphere is cooler the farther up it goes and the temperature on the cool side is far lower, the magma rain will often harden into rocks before striking the ground.

This planet seems like the closest place to hell that a place in the universe could get. But another planet has perhaps even more bizarre weather. This planet, known as HD189773-b, is located 63 light-years away from us, is a little larger than Jupiter, and looks stunningly beautiful from space. But that beauty is hiding a terrifying secret. It looks this way because the planet’s atmosphere is made up primarily of silicate particles. Winds on the planet can scream at 5,400mph, equal to 2km/s or 7 times the speed of sound. Temperatures can reach up to 930 C. But most terrifying of all is that the planet rains glass sideways in its extremely violent 2 km per second winds. This is so fast and scary that if a storm like that happened to appear on Earth, it would travel across the entire planet at the equator in just five hours and 35 minutes. And leave behind a shredded trail of glass. But even this storm pales in comparison to the mightiest wind so far known in our entire universe. The wind on the planet HD189733-b. This is a gas planet with one side always facing its star, where temperatures can reach a scorching 966 C.

But the temperature on the dark side is still very hot at 688 C. So, how does the dark side remain so hot still? The answer is extremely, wickedly fast wind, possibly up to 22,000mph, equal to 10km per second or nearly 29 times the speed of sound. For reference, the fastest ever recorded wind on the Earth happened during a tornado in Oklahoma back in 1999. And that was only 301 mph (484 km/h), or 73 times less than a nightmare storm on this giant that’s raging right now as you’re watching this video. If you made yourself a kite and flew through the wind, then you could zip around the entire Earth in a mere one hour and eight minutes. But perhaps the most interesting place is somewhere that’s much closer to home. Specifically, this place called Titan, which is a moon of Saturn. It has such a thick atmosphere, that we didn’t even know what its surface looked like until 2005, which if you’re curious, it looks like this. But Titan is a very bizarre place. It has an atmosphere, rivers and lakes and it even rains like on Earth. But the temperature is a bone-shattering negative 179 C, which is so cold that water is as hard as rocks and the chemical methane exist in a liquid state. The clouds, rivers, and lakes on the moon are made of methane, which is the primary component of natural gas. Only 20% of Titan’s surface has ever been mapped, but it is estimated that in that region alone, there are hundreds of times more natural gas and oil than is located on all of Earth.

There is so much gas on Titan, that it literally rains it. It’s an oil tycoon’s dream. And maybe the best way to encourage space travels’ to let a few countries know about Titan. But even more strange, you could actually theoretically fly on Titan. The atmosphere is thick enough and the gravity is weak enough that if attached a pair of wings to your arms and made a running jump, then you could actually flap around the moon like a bird, taking in all the alien sights of rivers and lakes. Of course, you would need a suit to protect yourself, but still, you could fly just like in your dreams and achieve something that’s impossible here on Earth.

There are over 1,000 confirmed planets that have been discovered outside of our solar system so far.