Forget Mars — We Should Colonise Venus Instead
Colonising Venus is perfect for our needs and much easier to boot
“Wait…what?” you might say.
“Kesh, Venus has a surface temperature of like 462 degrees Celsius (or 864 Fahrenheit for those playing along from The States).
Not to mention that the pressure on the surface is 92 times that of Earth — crushing anything that dare set foot on the planet — including probes.
Just what the hell are you thinking, man?”
I know…I know — but please just hear me out!
You see — the surface might be a burning hellscape but if you were to go about 50km up in the sky — you’ll find an area that is actually the most “earth-like” in the solar system.
In this “goldilocks zone” (where it’s not too hot or not too cold — but just right):
- Barometric pressure is almost the same as that of earth. This means you don’t need one of those clunky astronaut style pressure suits to step out of your spaceship. An oxygen tank and a relatively light suit that will shield your skin from the acidic air will do
- Temperature is between 20 degrees celsius through to 75 degrees and thus could be withstood by humans. If the weather is at the higher end of this spectrum; it can be managed with heat resistant clothing similar to what firefighters use
- Gravity is pretty close to that of Earth’s. This is important because one of the problems of humans in space is the extreme loss of bone mass (in open space this is orders of magnitude worse than someone with osteoporosis). It is also something we don’t have a solution for should we look to colonise Mars
- Atmospheric thickness is sufficient to shield people from cosmic and solar flair radiation
In addition to the above — another key consideration, like any other piece of real estate is: location, location, location.
- Venus is about 30% closer to Earth than Mars. This will make it easier to travel between the two planets; not to mention less food, water and fuel need to be stockpiled and used for such journeys
- Being closer to the sun, Venus receives 40% more solar energy than Earth, and 240 times that of Mars. Thus our energy needs will be much more easily met
“So it’s got some good conditions” I hear you say…but there’s one major thing you’re unconvinced about: “How in blue blazes are we going to live suspended 50km in the sky? Surely solid ground is a pre-requisite for any colonisation venture.”
Well…I’m glad you asked because that is a good segue to the next section
How could we actually do this?
These are not just the ravings of a mad-man on the internet.
NASA themselves (through their poorly named HAVOC initiative) have thought about establishing permanent settlements via floating cities that hover ~50KM above the planet’s surface.
As the atmosphere is primarily CO2, giant airships could be filled with a comparatively lighter human breathable oxygen-nitrogen mix. This will not only float (just as helium balloons float on Earth), but any air leaks will not explosively decompress — giving people time to fix leaks or tears.
As there is the significant wind at these levels — these airships could be tethered to the ground or simply be allowed to blow along with the wind.
Solar panels on top of these ships could allow colonists to meet their energy needs.
The high amounts of CO2 on the planet could be used to support plant life and the sulfuric acid in the clouds (H2SO4) could be decomposed or distilled into drinkable water (H2O).
These are just ideas for an initial presence on (or above) Venus. Over time, these airships could be expanded into being fully-fledged sky cities. Following that — the planet’s surface itself could be terraformed…but that is a story for another day.
So what do you think? Is exploration or colonisation of Venus worth considering?
Let me know in the comments below
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