There’s a lot of dangerous planets out there in sci-fi. Worlds that are harsh because of environmental conditions, or the native life, or due to science gone awry. We’re going to take a look at the ten worlds most likely to result in your death, no matter who you are.
10) Ursa Minor Beta
This is a case of too much of a good thing. This comes from Douglas Adams’ sequel novel to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the end of the Universe. Although it’s sunny with gorgeous beaches, the Guide states that “Ursa Minor Beta is, some say, one of the most appalling places in the known Universe.” “Although it is excruciatingly rich, horrifyingly sunny and more full of wonderfully exciting people than a pomegranate is of pips, it can hardly be insignificant that when a recent edition of Playbeing Magazine headlined an article with the words, ‘When you are tired of Ursa Minor Beta you are tired of life’, the suicide rate there quadrupled overnight.”
Hey, we like it here. It’s where we keep all our stuff. But we’re constantly plagued by zombies (Walking Dead, World War Z, 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead) or aliens (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Blob, Independence Day, V) or nuking one another (A Boy and his Dog, Planet of the Apes, The Hunger Games) or dealing with natural disasters (Deep Impact, Sharknado). And that’s not even dealing with when we create dinosaurs (Jurassic World) or killer robots (Terminator) or massive monsters (Godzilla). Let’s face it. This place is dangerous.
It’s a desert. All of it. Hardly any cities and the one that we see is referred to as a “hive of scum and villainy.” People shoot each other in cold blood with no consequences. Imperial Stormtroopers and gangsters working for Jabba the Hutt harass you all day. The wastelands are filled with murderous Sand People. Luke Skywalker’s biggest dream was to join the Imperial Academy (the bad guys) just to get off the planet. A depressing existence filled with threats to your life no matter where you go.
The desert planet from the Dune novels (and movie) is a very hostile environment. As it is said in the book: “Arrakis … Dune … wasteland of the Empire, and the most valuable planet in the universe. Because it is here — and only here — where spice is found. The spice. Without it there is no commerce in the Empire, there is no civilization. Arrakis … Dune … home of the spice, greatest of treasure in the universe. And he who controls it, controls our destiny.” So everyone wants the spice there so you’re set up for all sorts of political intrigue from rival Houses and the government. There are wanderers there called the Fremen who are hostile to outsiders. Oh, and there are massive worms that live in the desert. They create the spice but they could easily eat you. And it only gets more dangerous as the books continue.
Sometimes known as Deathworld, from the Deathworld trilogy of novels by Harry Harrison. It has double Earth’s gravity. The planet’s axis is such that it has extreme tectonic activity. Two moons that create massive tidal waves. Numerous supernovae in the vicinity create radioactive ore throughout the world. The animals there are all predatory and dangerous. The only reason to be there is to mine its valuable minerals but the entire planet is almost designed to kill you.
5) Ceti Alpha V
When Captain Kirk defeated Khan in Star Trek, he stranded him and his followers on a barely hospitable planet, Ceti Alpha V. Little did he know that shortly after he left him there, the galaxy would have a cataclysm that turned Ceti Alpha V from a harsh jungle to a desert world of constant storms. Craylon gas and high winds, constantly. Almost all indigenous life was wiped out. Most of Khan’s crew died. They had to live on bugs. They definitely would have all died if it weren’t for a Starfleet crew investigating the planet on an expedition, mistaking it for Ceti Alpha VI, unaware that VI blew up and changed the planetary orbits.
In Doctor Who, there’s no question that his most dangerous enemies are the Daleks, hateful mutant aliens that house themselves in nearly-indestructible personal tank-like devices. The reasoned that the safest place to create a base of operations where they wouldn’t be bothered would be the most dangerous planet in the universe, Kembel. It was located near the hellish planet Desparus, a penal colony for the most dangerous beings in the universe. It was a completely hostile environment which the Daleks then made MORE dangerous by importing their killer Vargas plants from their homeworld. It was designed to kill anyone who came there.
The Weyland-Yutani Corporation intentionally let an entire settlement get built on a planet they knew was teaming with dangerous xenomorphs (Aliens) just so they could later research the aliens as a potential bioweapon. The entire colony was killed. The Marines sent to investigate were killed. The aliens got off-planet. These aliens, by the way, just want to kill you or impregnate you which kills you. Their blood is acid. They’re mean. Everything went to crap. And even if it didn’t, the colony relied on terraforming a small area because the planet itself was hostile to life. It’d be like living with a glass wall to protect you from poison gas every second of your life. Pass.
A colonized world from Firefly. The government tested a chemical on people there to create peaceful emotions. Instead it made everyone so unmotivated they even stopped eating and just starved to death. Except for 0.01% of the people, where the chemical caused a side effect to make them incredibly aggressive, to the point of animalism. This was the birth of The Reavers, cannibals who roamed the stars eating and killing and raping everyone they came across, not always in that order. No matter what, a terrible place to be.
A world ruled by supervillain Darkseid. It has massive fire pits designed to keep its incredible technology going. Full of armies of demonic soldiers above with mindless monsters in the underground world below. It has the power to destroy galaxies. But everyone on it works as slaves, constantly. And fight. And toss each other in the fire pits. Or Darkseid might kill you on a whim just by looking at you. It’s basically a living hell.
Honorable Mention: Mars
Whether it’s the legit fact that it’s inhospitable in the hard sci-fi book/movie The Martian or overrun by demons in Doom, Mars is dangerous. But in both cases, you seem to have the resources you need to tough it out. Not fun. Very dangerous. You’re still more likely to survive than the rest of the places listed above.