No place in the Solar System (except Earth) is exactly welcoming to human life, but Venus’s anti-human hostility reaches a whole other level. Venus will try to kill you eight different ways before you even touch the ground. You’ll never have to worry about the lack of water or oxygen because you’ll already be dead.
And yet, there is serious discussion about colonizing Venus. The trick, it turns out, is to not bother trying to land. Instead, Venusian colonists would live in cities suspended in the upper atmosphere. The oxygen/nitrogen air that we breathe would have sufficient lifting force on Venus to keep our floating cities aloft, so we don’t even need helium or hydrogen balloons.
NASA has even produced this video showing what our first manned mission to Venus might look like. Get ready for space blimps!
The magic number is 55. At an altitude of 55 kilometers above the Venusian surface, the temperature is about the same as a warm summer’s day on Earth, with 90% Earth gravity and atmospheric pressure only a hair above Earth normal. The environment actually sounds pleasant—aside from the hurricane force winds and sulfuric acid clouds.
So could we colonize Venus? Sure. It’s definitely possible, and there may be good scientific reasons for doing it. Just so long as I’m not the one who has to go.
Colonization of Venus, a proposal by Geoffrey A. Landis.
Acid Clouds and Lightning from ESA.