The colonization of Venus may appear like science fiction to many people. However, space agencies like NASA are already seeing the possibilities of placing floating cities during the colonization of Venus. But can we accomplish this milestone soon? Can humans live on Venus? What are our chances of terraforming Venus in the future? Continue reading to find out more.
What is venus made of?
After Galileo Galilei made the first telescopic observation of Venus, the world was fascinated to understand more about the planet. Other astronomers closely observed the planet with their sophisticated modern telescopes before the space race officially began in the mid-20th century.
The first spacecraft built to explore Venus in 1961 was the Tyazhely Sputnik spacecraft belonging to the Soviet Union. However, its launch failure made the space agency think outside the box and improve its design. But after several failures, NASA successfully conducted a flyby mission on Venus using its Mariner 2 spacecraft in 1962.
After a series of successful space missions to Venus, NASA’s probes for the Pioneer Venus Mission were the first to discover that Venus’s Atmosphere has about 60 parts per million of free oxygen and nearly 0.1 to 0.4 percent of water. This discovery made scientists learn that Venus may have previously contained excess water. However, this abundant water has been lost.
Scientists suggest that the Solar Wind strikes in the upper atmosphere of Venus took away particles into deep space. They also estimated that Venus may have lost part of its abundant water following the devastating impact of solar winds around four and a half thousand million years after the planet’s birth.
However, the discovery made by the Pioneers made scientists conclude that Venus’s atmosphere may be liable for human civilization. All the space missions we sent to Venus taught us that the planet has a central iron core and rocky mantle. Scientists also discovered that Venus’ composition is similar to earth. But unlike earth, Venus’s atmosphere consists of three percent of nitrogen, 96 percent of carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases.
Colonization of Venus
The idea of colonizing Venus is not widely considered as all attention is still focused on the colonization of Mars. But our telescopic observations and scientific exploration enabled us to develop a great sense of colonizing the planet. The colonization of Venus simply implies that humans will live permanently or establish a long-term presence on the terrestrial planet.
This will give humans extra abilities to become multi-planetary species and advanced technologically. Venus is a great point to colonize since it is the second largest terrestrial planet and one of our closest celestial neighbors. However, colonizing the surface of Venus is entirely out of reach because of the hazardous nature of the planet.
Venus has a surface temperature that falls within 482 °C (900 °F). At this scorching temperature, no humans could survive on the surface of Venus. Aside from its extremely high temperature, Venus’s atmosphere comprises about 95 percent carbon dioxide. This makes the pressure on the surface of Venus about 75 times greater than that of earth.
The terrestrial planet also has clouds of sulfuric acids, volcanic eruptions, and other devastating attributes that make its surface entirely inhospitable for human civilization. Hence, scientists began to look toward building floating cities instead of building colonies on Venus’s inhospitable surface.
Discoveries made by astronomers in 2019 and 2020 show evidence of possible indigenous life in Venus’s Atmosphere. These discoveries gave scientists the sense of someday sustaining human civilization in Venus’s atmosphere.
Building Floating Cities During the Colonization of Venus
Soviet Scientists first suggested building a human settlement on Venus in early 1971. These scientists closely analyzed the inhospitable nature of Venus and concluded that building floating cities in the Venerian atmosphere would enable humanity to create a new settlement outside earth.
However, the concept was popularized by NASA scientist Geoffrey A. Landis. The scientist closely analyzed the dangers of colonizing Venus’s surface and concluded that building space habitats on Venus would be the best way to call the planet a home for future civilization. Venus has a hellish and hazardous surface. However, its cloud top level is entirely opposite Venus’s surface. Landis later proposed the concept of aerostat habitats, followed shortly by floating cities.
This is because the top cloud area of Venus provides a conducive environment for human civilization. Scientists have discovered that at an altitude of about 50 kilometers (31 miles) of the hellish surface of Venus lies an Earth-like environment. In fact, scientists have referred to this spot as the most earth-like environment within the solar system.
The Venerian atmosphere has temperatures within the 0 to 50 °C (273 to 323 K; 32 to 122 °F) range, a pressure of about 1 atm or 1000 hPa, and high protection against cosmic radiation. Its shielding mass is also similar to that of earth. These features have made Venus’s atmosphere to become attractive to scientists. The wind speed at the top of clouds on Venus sometimes reaches 95 m/s (340 km/h; 210 mph). Since the floating cities of Venus are not tethered to the surface, they will receive lesser structural stress from the wind.
Can Humans Live on Venus?
With the concept of floating cities on Venus, one could see the possibilities of humans living in Venerian top clouds in the future. The efforts made so far have proven that humanity may be closer to achieving building colonies on Venus’s atmosphere.
However, we may likely consider accomplishing a crewed mission to Mars before looking towards Venus. But do we stand to gain anything from building floating cities on Venus? Humanity will benefit significantly from building floating cities on Venus, including protection from radiation, heat, breathable air, and many others.
Although moving industrial tools and materials from earth may be pretty challenging, scientists will figure out how to tackle this challenge when the time comes. NASA developed the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) in 2015 to study the possibilities of creating an atmospheric crewed mission to Venus someday. The agency is also working on other futuristic concepts that will enable it to accomplish a crewed mission to Venus’s top cloud in the future.
Terraforming After Colonization of Venus
The possibilities of terraforming Venus appear quite complicated with our current understanding of physics and planetary science. However, several proposals have been made intending to remove or transform Venus’s dense carbon dioxide atmosphere and lower the surface temperature of Venus.
Scientists intend to accomplish this terraforming process by using a system of orbital mirrors or solar shade to lower insolation and provide sunlight to the dark side of the terrestrial planet, Venus. Other proposed ideas involve freezing out Venus’s atmospheric carbon dioxide or transforming it into carbonates to reduce the surface pressure on the planet. However, scientists are still thinking about developing other means of terraforming the terrestrial planet in the future.
The idea of building floating cities on Venus is no longer science fiction as scientists are already seeing the technical possibilities soon. Maybe, after we successfully colonize Mars, the Colonization of Venus’s top clouds may be the next target for human civilization. Do you think that we can achieve this milestone in the future?