US scientists and science-fiction writers alike have made a strong case for the possible colonization of Venus. While so many space enthusiasts are keeping their eyes on Mars, there might be a planet with more prosperous opportunities for the human race. There is a strong case for creating a floating colony above Venus, according to writer Charles Stross. The sci-fi author suggested that a constructed floating city on Venus could be made, but would need the help of billionaires' bank accounts.
Venus, the second planet away from the Sun may not seem like the coziest place to live as the surface temperature is so hot, it could melt lead. However, the air on Venus thins out as it rises above the ground and cools off, around an estimated 30 miles up, human habitation could be a very possible plan. It is believed that it would be like the temperature of the Mediterranean with the barometric pressure being at sea-level. The most plausible place to establish a floating city would most likely be the planet Venus, as stated in an article on citylab.com.
Though the concept sounds far-out, a floating city may just be a do-able project. Scientist and sci-fi writer Geoffrey Landis introduced a concept in a paper he called "Colonizing Venus" during the Conference of Human Space Exploration, Space Technology & Applications International Forum that was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2003. Air, that is considered to be breathable, exists in Venus' atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide. This means that on the planet Venus, a blimp would be able to use air to lift it up, the way other blimps take advantage of helium to float in an atmosphere that is much thinner.
Landis is not alone in his way of furturistic thinking. An entire group of sci-fi authors and scientists have been talking about the concept on the blog entitled Selenian Boondocks, in which its founder Jonathan Goff describes it as "a blog I founded to discuss space politics, policy, technology, business, and space settlement," as stated in a citylab.com article.
Still, a huge problem with a lunar colony is the fact that astronauts' bones and muscles start to break down in a low gravity environment. For the time being, nobody is sure how much gravity a human really needs to prevent this deterioration from happening. However it is important to point out that Venus' gravity is the closest to Earth, if compared to other planets, at about 9/10ths. If Mars is looked into, it only has a third of the gravity that planet Earth has, and the moon just has a sixth.
Another crucial factor that needs to be looked into is atmospheric pressure. Mars is not at all suitable as it would suck oxygen out of a human's surroundings on its planet at a rapid speed. However, 30 miles above Venus, the oxygen would just seep out. This also means that a colony above Venus would not need to have such strong support. Other pluses about Venus—its atmosphere is so rich it actually protects against radioactivity and could be mined for useful supplies. Additionally, the temperature is just right, not too hot nor cold which would allow for a lot less energy to be consumed on heating or cooling the city.
Hurdles still exist though. Landing on Venus' surface would be a difficult task to accomplish at 30 miles above the surface of the planet, but Landis thought of a way it could be executed. Thick titanium skin could live through reentry and float above the surface of the planet. Goff, who considers himself as a space entrepreneur as well as a space settlement advocate, believes that rocket stages (the pieces that pull off of a rocket during its liftoff phase) could be made to float after being used and be used again. This would be one way of giving a route to and from the colony to allow for building supplies to be mined from the surface area. Selenian Boondocks also assisted Goff in figuring out the chemical combination needed to extract breathable air, water, fuel, and other necessary supplies. Goff is planning on looking into the details with a closer eye in the near future. "I still need to talk about chemicals that seem easy to get to from the raw materials," Goff said, as stated on citylab.com in a recent article, then he continued "and how those impact colony design."
Life dangling above planet Venus may feel rather odd for some, while others may have no idea what to expect. Commentator George Turner on Selenian Boondocks described how a colonist on Venus could hold meat into the planet's harsh acidic atmosphere as a way of cooking:
"Well let me tell you, acid is good for meat, and breaks down connective tissue, fats, and tenderizes it. Run the pH the other way and it turns into soap and you might as well bite into a urinal cake.Venus is not for the timid, or people too afraid to shove a fat bird out the airlock and let the harsh laws of thermodynamics do the work. Venus is for men. Men who like to eat meat – cooked in fire and acid and seasoned with the Devil’s own mix of volatiles boiled up from the pits of hell. If the thought of Thanksgiving Dinner on Venus gives you the heebie jeebies, you don’t even need to think about plunging into the roiling atmosphere with nothing but a cheap plastic heat shield and a thin balloon to save you from the crematorium that yawns down below. So man up, dangle the bird into the depths of the Stygian hell, feast as someone who walks between worlds and lives on an airship that rides the hell born winds 30 miles above a surface so hot it glows visibly red," Turner wrote according to an article on citylab.com.
In the end, there will have to be a good enough reasons to spend an endless amount of money on such a daring project. Perhaps if the world becomes too over-crowded or there is a nuclear explosion that leaves Earth a mess, Venus could be the next best choice for the human race to live on.