Top 10 Extreme Environments

NASA Ames / Dana Berry

As far as we know, life in our solar system is an Earth exclusive. The planet just happens to boast an oxygen-rich layer of moderate temperatures, and it's here that a plethora of different life forms thrive. Some swim in the sea, others stick to the land or take to the sky. Only one of them, however, has decided it can pretty much go anywhere it pleases. Yep, we're talking about humans.

Of course, humans can't really go anywhere they please -- not without the right gear and maybe a closed-environment, pressurized suit or two. There are corners of the world man was never meant to run will-nilly through. Leave the Earth and things get even worse: worlds of fire, landscapes of ice, realms our fragile bodies can't cope with.

But don't let that stop you. If you're game, come with us on a journey to 10 of the most challenging environments in the solar system.

Oh, and you might want to dress in layers.

Originally published at Discovery Space.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.