About Falling In Love At Verona Rupes

Falling In Love At Verona Rupes is now up as the January 10, 2022 drabble at Martian magazine. (Subscribe!)

When I previously wrote About Mercury’s Ice I mentioned that I became a space nerd at a very young age, and in the decades since have become quite fond of the lesser known–but no less awesome–wonders of the solar system.

Verona Rupes, from NASA’s Voyager 2

Verona Rupes is another one of those wonders. Spotted during Voyager 2’s 1986 flyby of Uranus’ moon Miranda, it’s a candidate for the tallest cliff in the solar system, possibly reaching twenty kilometers (twelve miles) high. With Miranda’s low gravity, less than 1% of Earth’s, that 20 km fall is going to provide ample time for sightseeing on the way down, about eleven minutes.

And we humans seems to have an unquenchable thirst for doing things while falling. (As it turns out, skydive weddings are quite popular among the engaged-to-be-married skydiver population!)

So you just know, how is anybody going to resist having their wedding ceremony performed during the 11-minute freefall off the highest cliff in the solar system?

Base jumping Verona Rupes artist’s concept. Credit: Erik Wernquist

A few things to keep in mind: Miranda is an airless moon, so you’ll need spacesuits. Though the sun is a long ways away, it’ll still be pretty bright, so coordinate suit colors. Rehearse the ceremony a few times at ground level–you do have eleven minutes, so you don’t have to rush too much, but still, be diligent and watch the altimeter.

Finally, parachutes are useless on Miranda, so make sure everyone’s retros are in good working order and fully fueled. You’ll want to ensure everyone in the wedding party has a good time and a soft landing.

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