Should We Colonize Venus?

OSR blog post

We know that scientists would like to colonize Mars. Is it possible to colonize Venus? Read on to learn more about colonizing Venus.

You might expect Venus to be much like Earth. Its diameter is 95 percent of Earth’s, it has a similar average density and composition, and it is just 30 percent closer to the sun. Unfortunately, the surface of Venus is perpetually hidden by below thick clouds. Scientists have discovered a hot desert beneath the clouds along with volcanoes, lava flows, and impact craters. This sounds like a place impossible to build on.  How would people ever live in such conditions?

Venus Vs. Mars

The list below characterizes the differences for humans to arrive and live on Mars.

  • Tavel to Venus- 100 Days.
  • Travel to Mars- 6-9 Months – this requires more food, fuel, and water.
  • 4 x More Solar Power compared to Mars.
  • More carbon dioxide to extract oxygen than Mars

The gravity issue between Venus and Mars is quite significant. Why does gravity matter? Prolonged low gravity hurts humans. For example, when astronauts orbit the Earth they lose bone mass. Mars has a low gravity environment. When looking at this long-term, scientists need to figure out how to deal with the loss of bone mass. Although researchers may figure out how to add water and oxygen to Mars’ environment, they need to deal with the low gravity problem. People would not survive living on Mars more than a few months. Venus has a much closer gravity to the one we experience here on Earth.

Barometric Pressure

The barometric pressure on the planet poses a problem. The surface pressure on Venus is equal to diving 1 km down into the ocean. When researchers sent probes to the surface they imploded before touching down. Eventually, they learned how to build a probe that would stay intact. Unfortunately, these only stayed together for two hours before they imploded as well. Although the surface temperature rages around 450° C, the temperature about 50 km (30 miles) above drops to 70°C (158°F). This remains hot, but we do have the clothing available to withstand such high temperatures. At this altitude, the surface pressure drops to near the same here on Earth. Balloons filled with helium could also float at this altitude. Humans would need heat resistance clothing and oxygen masks, but not spacesuits. The upper atmosphere may be the closest thing in the universe to Earth’s environment.

Cloud Cities

If you watch science fiction movies you may see cities that exist above the clouds. We take this image for granted and never really think about why they are there. If the fictional planet is anything like Venus, this would explain this feature. Although it seems like a concept for the movies, it may not be that far away from reality. Scientists at NASA have been working on a conceptualized idea of a city above the clouds for Venus. They call the project High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC). Not only would this resolve the surface living issue, but it may help scientists deal with solving living conditions on other planets.

With travel to Venus less costly and quicker the advantages outweigh traveling to Mars. It will be interesting to see if someday we can visit the cloud cities of Venus.