Today’s post is part of a special series here on Planet Pailly called Sciency Words. Each week, we take a closer look at an interesting science or science-related term to help us expand our scientific vocabularies together. Today’s term is:
Given a choice between colonizing Venus or Mars, I might actually choose Venus. Yes, surface conditions on Venus are hellish instant death. Like, literally hellish. It’s even got the sulfur. But a Venusian colony would not be built on the planet’s surface.
Atmospheric conditions at an altitude of about 50 km are actually quite pleasant. The temperature and pressure are about the same as on Earth. So is the gravity. And you wouldn’t need hydrogen or helium to keep your floating cities aloft; on Venus, oxygen is lighter than air.
Life in a Venusian floating city, drifting around right above the Venusian clouds, sounds almost—dare I say it?—heavenly. There’d be plenty of sunlight (solar panels would soak up plenty of energy), and Venus would provide some natural protection from solar and cosmic radiation (at least, more protection than you’d get on Mars).
And thanks to the weird chemical mix in Venus’s atmosphere, you’d be able to collect almost all the natural resources you’d need. Well, aside from water (Mars has got Venus beat there).
I know this sounds crazy, but the more you read about it, the more Venus colonization makes sense. Venus may not get the kind of attention (or funding) that Mars gets, but NASA and other space agencies do take this seriously. NASA has even given the idea a name: the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept, or H.A.V.O.C.
So I’m ready to sign up for a mission to colonize Venus. Who’s with me?