How do we terraform Venus?

Jul 25, 2014 by Fraser Cain
Artist’s impression of an surface of Venus. Credit: ESA/AOES

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

This planet has been the center of corny nerd fantasies and awful behavioral gender oversimplifications from days of yore.

There are many real reasons to admire Venus from afar, but my favorite, much like Mars, is the potential to turn it into a vacation spot and haven for mad science planetary engineering. Venus is a virtual twin of Earth. It has a solid surface and very similar gravity to Earth.

You're already sold, right? You can already picture yourself there in a sun hat on a beach towel. There's are just few complications. There's insane atmospheric pressure, clocking in at a hull crushing 91 atmospheres, and what's worse for all this atmospheric trouble, there's no oxygen. It's a just a huge tank of suffocating CO2. It also rains sulfuric acid.

So, in order to terraform Venus, we need to decrease the temperature, reduce the thickness of the , and there's the simple matter of making breathable air. Here's the best part. They're all connected, and not a John Gray book in sight.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Venus is so darned hot because of this thick CO2 atmosphere, the first thing we need to is cool the planet down. If you set up a huge space-based shade and block all sunlight from hitting the atmosphere, the temperature would drop, and I mean *drop*. It would cool hundreds of degrees until it was so cold the CO2 would freeze out of the atmosphere, and pile up in drifts on the ground. Then you could scoop up the carbon, bury it or shoot it off into space.

Another, equally mad idea would be to build floating cities high up in the atmosphere of Venus. They would need to contain factories which sucked carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and split it into carbon and oxygen. The carbon would be made into graphene structures, and the oxygen would become the lifting gas to keep the cities afloat. With more cities, it would block the sunlight and help cool the planet down.

Unfortunately, the slow rotation of the planet is still a big problem. A solar day on Venus is 116 Earth days in length. You could speed its rotation by close asteroid flybys, or use that crazy space shade contraption to create an artificial day/night cycle.

This is but the tip of the CO2 iceberg. Here are the really crazy ideas. Start by smashing thousands of asteroids into the planet and splash the atmosphere into space. This plan has some flaws beyond the obvious engineering requirements and "Hail Mary" qualities. There's a pretty good chance Venus would just scoop its atmosphere back up on the next orbit around.

On Feb. 5, 1974, NASA’s Mariner 10 mission took this first close-up photo of Venus during 1st gravity assist flyby. Credit: NASA

You could also dump massive amounts of calcium or magnesium into the atmosphere to sequester the carbon away. Unfortunately, you'd need more mass than one of the largest asteroids we currently have available. There's still that problem of no magnetic field, but I'm sure by the time we've worked out the first parts, that would seem like a walk in the park.

A radar view of Venus taken by the Magellan spacecraft, with some gaps filled in by the Pioneer Venus orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL

Terraforming Venus is insanely harder than terraforming Mars. But it's still possible with enough planning, technology and patience, and that's pretty amazing.

Explore further: Why does Venus' atmosphere rotate sixty times faster than its surface?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Image: Data from Venus

Dec 17, 2012

On Dec. 14, 1962, NASA's Mariner 2 spacecraft sailed close to the shrouded planet Venus, marking the first time any spacecraft had ever successfully made a close-up study of another planet. It flew by Venus ...

ESA: Unveiling Venus

May 25, 2012

With Venus about to get its day in the Sun — very much literally — the European Space Agency has assembled an excellent video about our planetary neighbor.

Recommended for you

NASA image: Sunrise from the International Space Station

36 minutes ago

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this image of a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station, to social media on Oct. 29, 2014. Wiseman wrote, "Not every day is easy. Yesterday was a tough one. ...

Copernicus operations secured until 2021

1 hour ago

In a landmark agreement for Europe's Copernicus programme, the European Commission and ESA have signed an Agreement of over €3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus 'space component' between 2014 ...

Steering ESA satellites clear of space debris

1 hour ago

Improved collision warnings for its Earth observation missions means ESA controllers can now take more efficient evasive action when satellites are threatened by space junk.

User comments : 54

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (12) Jul 25, 2014
How will we need to fix Venus?

Probably easier to fix ourselves so that we can live on Venus* than the other way around.

*Or just under harsh conditions in general. At some point of getting ourselves into durable, artificial bodies ther whole idea of terraforming becomes moot.

Then you could scoop up the carbon, bury it or shoot it off into space.

Erm...the magnitude of such a task seems to escape the author. Venus would be meters deep in CO2 snow. Over the entire surface. Shooting that amount of mass into space or burying it is not possible. You'de be better advised to build a planet from scratch.

The carbon would be made into graphene structures, and the oxygen would become the lifting gas to keep the cities afloat.

Again a complete inability to understand orders of magnitude. SciFi is all cool and stuff...but for heavens sake: do some math first.

Where do they find these crazies?
JamesG
4.2 / 5 (9) Jul 25, 2014
Ok. Fraser Cain (the author of this piece) obviously had too much time on his hands.
Scottingham
4.5 / 5 (11) Jul 25, 2014
Fridays: When Physorg writers smoke weed.
rockwolf1000
4.3 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2014
Fridays: When Physorg writers smoke weed.


You'd need something stronger than that to fabricate the above story. LSD would probably do it.
robert_durieux
4 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2014
How do mankind survive the next decade first ?
Anyway, could be of some use : we'll soon have to terraform earth if we want to carry on living out there...
Benni
2.4 / 5 (10) Jul 25, 2014
To become like Venus, all we need to do is stay here & allow the 1998 Hockey Stick Crowd predictions come to pass. Just imagine all the rocket ship fuel that won't be polluting the orbit between Earth & Venus with CO2, we'll just keep it right here & VOILA, two Venus' for the cost of one.
extinct
4 / 5 (10) Jul 25, 2014
"How do we terraform Venus?"

We haven't even started to use terraforming techniques here on planet earth to reverse the massive damage we continually cause while being in denial about causing it, and now we're already planning to terraform another planet which we have scarcely ever been to with our fragile spacecraft? That just spotlights how dangerously arrogant we are. We lack humanity and we have too much technology, and that scenario is drastically out of balance with nature.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (15) Jul 25, 2014
Why?
Won't the environmentalists cry out in protest that man would damage the pristine Venusian eco-system?
Mike_Massen
5 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2014
There certainly needs to be effort to deal with CO2 & AGW here !
But this doesn't mean there are not likely to be driven individuals who would find a passion to do something useful for Venus & Mars in terms of habitable options. Wouldn't it be great to have an excess of smart & driven people for a change to advance human potential...

Assuming we had some effective shielding & frozen CO2 then processing by various methods to produce O2 & carbon may not be that hard, selected removal of the shield in conjunction with factories to utilise localised solar power to do this would be an incremental step. Local power thus raised could be used to manufacture further factories & robotics to exponentially teraform - if at least to process CO2, we might suffer from excess oxygen for a time but, hey bacteria could be good at extracting nitrogen from rocks etc provided water was available.

Question is the first step, as Venus is unlikely to be a problem re indigenous bacteria ?
Benni
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2014
SciFi is all cool and stuff...but for heavens sake: do some math first.


.........they don't know how to do differential equations.
antialias_physorg
3.8 / 5 (14) Jul 25, 2014
Won't the environmentalists cry out in protest that man would damage the pristine Venusian eco-system?

Because Venus hasn't got one? Duh.
Sean44
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2014
Many lifeforms have imbalances in their equations and produce excess water. Which means biology not asteroids might be best for Venus. Mars needs mass and EM field, so the right billiard game with asteroids would be fun. Thermofile engineer however with a great in-balance in chemistry equations to where the statistical process takes 2 CO2 and 2H in an inbalance into 2H2O and the lifeform replicates using the C2 and O left over might be best for venus. Well maybe not one life form but a designer ecosystem. Its just assumed the water on earth was always here.. but there are a lot of equations in lifeforms where H2O is a byproduct. Use the exponential growth, and Venus could be terraformed possibly within decades :-p Then you throw in part two of terraforming, where the lifeforms produce an imbalance of a fatty acid oil that floats.. so the water reflects a lot of sun energy back into space. So Venus from earth would be even more brighter. :-D

Do thermofiles love sulfuric vents?
Dr_toad
Jul 25, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Sean_W
2.8 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2014
1st: New materials and building methods to deal with the heat, pressure and chemistry.
2nd: Robots. Lots of robots.
3rd: Tunnels. Lots of tunnels.

And it is going to be a long time before things aren't dependant on support from Earth. No early ROI.
Protoplasmix
not rated yet Jul 25, 2014
…do some math first.

Indeed. Exponential growth would be the fastest low-tech solution. From Bacterial growth -- of the log (or exponential) phase it's said, "Exponential growth cannot continue indefinitely, however, because the medium is soon depleted of nutrients and enriched with wastes." So after coaxing a few giant ice-teroids to impact the planet, upping the angular momentum (to shorten the day) and providing H2O, I think some modified extremophiles would make quick work of the initial stages. Call me optimistic, but I think we could make Venus habitable within our lifetime, if we put our heads together.

The fastest high-tech solution is as yet still science fiction – 'matter replicators' I think they were called. Considering the rapid progress in 3D printing and nanotech, maybe we can use that route on Mars?
Mimath224
5 / 5 (1) Jul 25, 2014
I think the first line
'It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough.' has the point! Well I mean, that goes for just about everything doesn't it? Pigs might fly if some day we have the biological tech. I don't disagree with people dreaming about what might be possible in the future but should the write an article about it?
qitana
1 / 5 (1) Jul 25, 2014
In all seriousness, I think the real question is:

Why haven't we sent a giant fridge to Venus?

Clearly people could live on Venus if they only had a giant fridge to live in!
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2014
I think the first line
'It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough.' has the point! Well I mean, that goes for just about everything doesn't it? Pigs might fly if some day we have the biological tech. I don't disagree with people dreaming about what might be possible in the future but should the write an article about it?


That's what I thought.

One day, it might be possible, when we have the technology, to transform Venus into a bowl of strawberries.
Andrew Palfreyman
1 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2014
Being an obviously overweight chap, my advice to you is to wear looser fitting clothes. You look like a bald wiener. Normally this would not matter, but since you're discussing really interesting stuff, being an obvious non-scientist AND stuffing yourself into clothing obviously not designed for you is distracting, to say the least. Clean up your act
Mike_Massen
5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2014
Sean44 mumbled
Many lifeforms have imbalances in their equations and produce excess water.
Rubbish.
From evolutionary history water the source solvent for all life processes to occur as such hydrolysis is the main reaction at the basis of life which means water must go through each & every (bio)organic system as an absolute essential - it is not an excess.

ie.
We drink water & we expel water,
input water aids digestion,
expelled water carries away waste.
Its a fundamental process of all life - microbiology 101

Thermophiles could well be employed on Venus, our best such bacteria on Earth die at aroound 120 deg C - not far short of the temps needed to destroy prions in Eg UHT at ~130 deg C.

So you would have to cool Venus first to less than 120 deg C to exploit thermophiles.

Water bearing comets for Mars & Venus would be useful but, there would be risks re collecting/directing & bear in mind Venus also doesn't have much of a magnetic field...
TheKnowItAll
not rated yet Jul 26, 2014
Venus needs an icy moon and I think it might be a bit difficult to steal one from Jupiter or Saturn.^^
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2014
Why would we even WANT to terraform Venus?
Mr. Frain is getting desperate...
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2014
It may actually be no more difficult than standard rocket science to terraform Venus if Panspermia is valid. I think life, like a gas, expands to the size of its container.

Of course, if you closely examine a diagram of a bumblebee on paper, you might be inclined to believe such a thing could never fly.
Mike_Massen
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2014
Whydening Gyre asked
Why would we even WANT to terraform Venus?
As in "We" - the whole human race, one or more nation states, an enclave, well capitalized group of wealthy pioneers extending our reach ?

Why would columbus want to travel across the Atlantic ?
Why would people explore Antarctica ?

etc etc

There are lots of people in need of an education & desperately looking for direction, such may stimulate a passion in the pioneering spirit of exploration...

Sense of adventure ?

There is no shortage of capital, there is however a severe shortage of management skill
& contemporary inspiring examples that have led the human race thus far, why limit
the potential by even asking the question as such a question would invite the lesser members of our family to become divisive and hold us back yet again...
leomoore
2 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2014
The solutions discussed will never work unless the planet's core is liquefied and rotates like Earth's to create a magnetic field. It would also help with carbon sequestration to start plate tectonics. The biggest ingredient missing from this is water. There is not enough water on Venus. It's rotation is insufficient as well. It needs a moon of sufficient size to stabilse its rotation and axis. Of course, Earth eventually will need either a new moon or something that will prevent losing its current moon.

The bottom line is that if we were advanced enough to terraform a planet, we would probably be smart enough not to need an extra planet.

Considering the current political ascendancy of ignorance, I think it is doubtful our species will survive long enough to gain the knowledge necessary to colonise even the moon.
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jul 26, 2014
So, Mike. What you are saying is - we'd do it because we can?
The financial cost alone would ruin THIS planet.(see leomore's comment).
Not to mention - the "attention to more pressing home planet details" brain drain...
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jul 26, 2014
I think the first line
'It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough.' has the point! Well I mean, that goes for just about everything doesn't it? Pigs might fly if some day we have the biological tech. I don't disagree with people dreaming about what might be possible in the future but should the write an article about it?


That's what I thought.

One day, it might be possible, when we have the technology, to transform Venus into a bowl of strawberries.

Only if we've developed an "Infinite Probability" drive.
Mike_Massen
not rated yet Jul 26, 2014
leomoore offered
..not enough water on Venus. It's rotation is insufficient as well. It needs a moon of sufficient size to stabilse its rotation and axis...
Since the field is weak & if we ever cool the planet to get solid CO2 as posted then extracting oxygen & allowing it to react with sun's proton flux should produce heaps of water. Not sure how much would be sloughed off but some might fall back as rain...

leomoore added
..if we were advanced enough to terraform a planet, we would probably be smart enough not to need an extra planet.
Sure but, the problem is we are not a unified species, so directing some to useful efforts here & Venus could be a good balance of human resources.

leomoore sadly
Considering the current political ascendancy of ignorance, I think it is doubtful our species will survive long enough..
Sentiments shared, it would seem smart to go about ones business avoiding influence of politics & without any dependence upon it...
Mike_Massen
not rated yet Jul 26, 2014
Whydening Gyre replied
So, Mike. What you are saying is - we'd do it because we can?
Per my earlier post which "we" ?

Whydening Gyre
The financial cost alone would ruin THIS planet.(see leomore's comment).
He didnt talk re economics but, hey we wouldnt do it the way Re moon mission.

I envisage launching robotic probes to construct raw materials from moon, asteroids etc without human involvement - see my post with the word 'exponential', with modern tech & good design it could be programmed to run itself with minimal further hardware investment. Launches cheaper.

Whydening Gyre
Not to mention - the "attention to more pressing home planet details" brain drain...
Covered that too, re education in conjunction with direction, few posts back,

To clarify: There are plenty of humans, they need education & planning, both lacking currently but addressable. People are not unified, stimulate passions direct capital & management.

The rest should just be "..joining the dots"...
gopher65
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2014
Phase 1: Decide to start terraforming Venus.
Phase 2: ???
Phase 3: Profit!
Graeme
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2014
The crust is probably pretty alkaline with plenty of magnesium and calcium that could absorb carbon dioxide to make carbonates. So you just have to find a way to have this happen. Another possibility is to engineer lifeforms that could survive in Venus like conditions. Every molecule used by life would have to be changed so something quite different. But I reckon there would be some carbon based substances stable at the temperature, and also reactive enough to do things with.
pandora4real
1 / 5 (3) Jul 27, 2014
Term terraforming has become confounded with making it suitable for homo sapiens, full stop. Earth doesn't look much like earth anymore. And we don't live on the planet, we live on plants. Before their evolution earth was pretty inhospitable to our form of life. So, all we're saying is, "how do we get plants to grow on Venus?" Or in space. Or on Mars. It has little to do with the place we do it.

The other point is what I'm calling the "bratty kid" syndrome. When a bratty kid destroys his toy and starts eyeing another kid's, do you give it to him??? Homo sapiens is a travesty that deserves to die out, not exploit his monkey logic and fill the universe with bananas.
pandora4real
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2014
Erm...the magnitude of such a task seems to escape the author.


I'm proposing a DSM category for a syndrome you see repeated with conspiracy theories, pseudo-science...most of what people debate on the 'net.

lol "Scale" was #1 before I read your comments...

https://www.faceb...46853678
EWH
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2014
" If you set up a huge space-based shade and block all sunlight from hitting the atmosphere, the temperature would drop, and I mean *drop."

Nonsense. The atmosphere already reflects 90% of sunlight. The atmosphere keeps the planet hot by reflecting back the existing heat of the planet, which has enormous thermal inertia. If we cut off all sunlight, the atmosphere would not freeze out for at least millions of years, more likely hundreds of millions.
scottz
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2014
The way to start terraforming the planet would be to move it into an orbit consistent with earth orbit (by tractor beam?--not yet currently developed but perhaps possible or to somehow push the planet into a habitable zone orbit) and to see what changes that would bring.

And then watch what happens.

Certainly the cycle of overheating because of the planets orbital relationship to the sun would be affected. Perhaps that would eliminate some of the terra forming heavy lifting by allowing the moderating influence of an earth-like/habitable orbit to take hold on the planet and so speed into place the conditions of atmosphere conducive to habitability..
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (5) Jul 27, 2014
The only way to terraform Venus would be to cool the planet itself, that is the source of the heat not some fabled runaway greenhouse.
11791
Jul 27, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2014
The only way to terraform Venus would be to cool the planet itself, that is the source of the heat not some fabled runaway greenhouse.

Sure, the surface may be hellish, but it is nevertheless currently possible for life to exist in the lower and middle cloud layers of Venus – see "Astrobiology: The Case for Venus": https://web.archi...2310.pdf

So add water, seed the place and watch life adapt and terraform. If that doesn't work it will place serious constraints on quite a few theories.
Bob Osaka
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2014
In science fiction all things are possible. In reality if anyone is capable of designing a probe/rover which could withstand more than a few seconds on the Venusian surface then perhaps we'd be one step closer to realizing the terraforming fantasy.
mooster75
5 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2014
Homo sapiens is a travesty that deserves to die out, not exploit his monkey logic and fill the universe with bananas.

You first; we'll follow, I swear.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2014
In science fiction all things are possible.

Yes. but there is good science fiction and bad science fiction. The difference is:
Good SciFi: Realistic (sounding) actions taken within a realistic timeframe and accounting for the change of humanity in that timeframe
Bad SciFi: Acting as if NOTHING ELSE changes until the day we acquire one specific technology to turn Venus into a bowl of strawberries.

The article is firmly seated in the latter category. It's all cool to think about planet shading screens, mass drivers being capable of hurling significant parts of a planet into the sun (and the power reactors needed for this), Bio-induced atmospheric change on planetary scales, and whatnot.

But you have to take into account the time until such tech is available and the time it would take to deploy and use it. By that time we'll have WAY easier tech (habitats/hollowed asteroids, hardened bodies, ...) and it won't matter.
EyeNStein
1 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2014
I agree they might as well be planning to coat Venus in Meringue and strawberries but even wacky articles can set a thought in motion.

Based on our current asteroid maps:
1)Could we select one requiring a not so small delta-v. (beyond our current capabilities)
2) Select a smaller one which with an achievable delta-v could nudge the first one. Or slingshot the first past a planet for the final result we want.
3) Repeat with smaller lighter rocks with smaller delta-v to achieve same final delta-v result.

This delta-v amplification process could yield a mineral rich asteroid into lunar orbit. Or save the Earth from some projected future massive collision, from nearly-current technology.

I hope someone at NASA is looking at the accuracy of their space maps and the size of computer required for realistic projects. (But not to terraform Venus!)
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2014
Could we select one requiring a not so small delta-v.

A trojan would not require much in terms of delta v.
Anything else? Forget it (if it's supposed to be reasonably sized to even be worth getting - beyond scientific curiosity).

Also: Lots of nations might not approve of "nation X trying to shoot a largish asteroid at Earth and promising to insert it into orbit"...the probability of "Oopsie...there goes China (Russia/the US), Sorry" is something I can't see other nations taking lightly.

mineral rich asteroid

Check the volume of minerals mined on Earth (already refined) then look at what size of asteroid you'd need to be worth it. That capability is still beyond us for quite some time.

(Energywise it would be more efficient to extract/refine ore in situ and just fire the resulting refined material back. But that, too, would require spacecraft of SERIOIUS dimensions and ruggedness beyond anything we can currently dream up)

EyeNStein
1 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2014
AAP:-However: Assuming we will one day need minerals in space, or to divert an extinction level event asteroid. I hope someone is looking at what we can currently achieve and the delta-v amplification technology needed to extend our capabilities.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2014
Probably much cheaper to look into digging deeper on this planet. We're sitting on a rock chock full of any kind of material you can think of - if you just dig down deep enough and/or care to take the trouble to separate out the elements you want.
We have barely scratched the top hundred meters or so in some select places.

Either way is MUCH cheaper than going out in spacecraft and start shaving down asteroids. (Granted: Way less cool/Hollywoody - but in the end that's not what it's about. )
FastEddy
not rated yet Jul 28, 2014
So, who asked for this?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2014
Probably much cheaper to look into digging deeper on this planet.

Not after paying off all the politicians and 'watermelons'.
There are no watermelons in space.
Mimath224
not rated yet Jul 28, 2014
You know, sometimes I wonder if someone deliberately starts such an idea just to see if people like it or not/profit in it? If we had the tech to change Venus then surely we could solve the 'Mars mission' problems too. I would also have thought going to Mars was also going in the right direction. IF there are exo planets suitable for human life (or close to) shouldn't that be our objective?
ryggesogn2
2.8 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2014
The best idea I have heard for Venus is to float in the atmosphere at ~1 bar.
In addition to the challenge getting there, the only challenge would be protection from the atm. Advantage over Mars is the same gravity and atm pressure as Earth.
Start with dirigible automatic factories creating carbon fiber and oxygen and whatever else might be useful in the atm. Plenty of power from the sun.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2014
The best idea I have heard for Venus is to float in the atmosphere at ~1 bar.
In addition to the challenge getting there, the only challenge would be protection from the atm. Advantage over Mars is the same gravity and atm pressure as Earth.
Start with dirigible automatic factories creating carbon fiber and oxygen and whatever else might be useful in the atm. Plenty of power from the sun.


So why are you telling us?

As you incessantly claim, only capitalists could properly handle such a project. Why not share your borrowed plans with your big oil corporate masters and see if they can profit from this somehow?

antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2014
Start with dirigible automatic factories

You have no clue about airships and the typo of mass that a 'factory' has that has any kind of production capacity beyond the pitifully minimal, do you?

Plenty of power from the sun.

You have no clue about what it looks like when you float in the Venus atmosphere, do you?

Advantage over Mars is the same gravity and atm pressure as Earth.

Erm. No. The atmosphere on Venus a LOT denser than on Earth. And pretty aggressive.

If that is 'the best idea' you've heard then you have no clue how to distinguish good from bad ideas.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2014
" 50 km above the surface, Venus has air pressure of approximately 1 bar and temperatures in the 0C-50C range, a quite comfortable environment for humans. Humans wouldn't require pressurized suits when outside, but it wouldn't quite be a shirtsleeves environment. We'd need air to breathe and protection from the sulfuric acid in the atmosphere. "
" In looking at Venus, the fact that struck Landis the most is that Earth's atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen would actually float in Venus' atmosphere of carbon dioxide. "Because the atmosphere of Venus is CO2, the gases that we live in all the time, nitrogen and oxygen, would be a lifting gas," he said. "On Earth, we know to get something to lift, you need something lighter than air. Well, on Venus, guess what? Our air is lighter than air, or at least lighter than the Venus atmosphere." "
http://www.optcor...g-cities
Dr_toad
Jul 29, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
EyeNStein
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2014
For the under informed amphibians amongst us:
Delta-v is a generic term for a change of trajectory and speed. It can be direct via rockets or solar sails; indirect by slingshot or aerodrag; or unintentional by explosions (Apollo 13) or collisions.
The concept of delta-v is important in space for two reasons.
1) 'v' is continuous, often very large, and relative to any and everything else in a way that is rare in the friction filled environment of earth. Absolute-v does not exist.
2) delta-v is a change of relative velocity directly dependent on the mass of the object we wish to redirect. Which again can be huge relative to what man can achieve directly.

Hence the concept of amplification is important: A small, achievable delta-v can direct an object after a fast moving more massive object (Usually a craft after a planet) Gravity slingshot causes a larger delta-v. This can be repeated many times for a large delta-v: Amplified far higher that we could achieve directly by rockets.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2014
delta-v is jargon used by rocket scientists/engineers.

"Delta-v" stands for "delta velocity". Velocity is a vector and any change in the velocity vector could be called 'delta v'.

The velocity vector of a body in orbit is constantly changing with time in the presence a gravity force field. If the speed is consistent, then in general the orbit will be consistent. Changing speed changes the orbit, and the overall acceleration.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2014
Assuming we will one day need minerals in space

Minerals in space is a different critter. There space mining makes sense.

For a Moon base there are probably ample ores to be had 'locally' on the Moon (or for a Mars base you'd do mining on Mars). For asteroid bases where you can expect some minerals to be not too local it probably will make sense to mine nearby asteroids and lob that stuff over (simply letting it impact an collecting it later)

But that's all next (or the following) century stuff.

Changing speed changes the orbit, and the overall acceleration.

No and no.
The Earth changes speed along its orbit all the time without leaving its orbit. An elliptical orbit is still an orbit

And you can have changing speed without changing acceleration (just drop something to test this).
barakn
5 / 5 (4) Jul 29, 2014
The best idea I have heard for Venus is to float in the atmosphere at ~1 bar.
In addition to the challenge getting there, the only challenge would be protection from the atm. Advantage over Mars is the same gravity and atm pressure as Earth.
Start with dirigible automatic factories creating carbon fiber and oxygen and whatever else might be useful in the atm. Plenty of power from the sun.
1 bar is smack dab in the middle of the cloud deck where you'd have to deal with sulfuric acid and reduced sunlight as well as a temperature of 340 K. You'd have to go up to 0.1 bar to get out of the sulfuric acid clouds and into the sunlight, but then a human habitation filled with 1 bar of N2/O2 would not be self buoyant. You would need He or H2, but these gases escape easily and would need to be replaced periodically. There is some water and He, but the water would be needed for other purposes.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.