It’s been described as Earth’s twin, our sister planet, roughly the same size and composition as the home world we all know and love.
But it’s the hellish parts of Venus that make it our evil twin:
–Its atmospheric pressure is nearly 100 times greater than on Earth. If you set foot on Venus you would be crushed.
–It is damn hot: over up to 900 degrees. At best, you would bake.
–Its atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, with clouds that rain sulphuric acid. Not only would you be unable to breathe, but the acid would melt your body.
So what’s good about this hell planet? What possible use could we have for it?
It turns out that Venus is not as useless as it may seem, at least not according to NASA.
If we are ever to become serious about off-world colonies, Venus might be a good place to start. But how could we ever live on such an inhospitable world? We couldn’t. Instead, we could float just above its poisonous atmosphere.
This is what some NASA scientists are planning: floating cities. These giant blimp-like structures would be tethered about 30 miles above Venus’s surface. At this level, the atmospheric pressure is roughly similar to that of Earth, and the temperature, while still an inhumanly 160 degrees, would be suitable for these structures. The crafts would be solar powered as well.
But if Venus is so bad, what’s the benefit?
It allows us to get our feet wet in terms of establishing colonies in space, and we could avoid problems such as extreme temperatures or adverse gravitational conditions (too little gravity and our bodies would break down faster than we would like).
I have never considered Venus as a potential off-world site, and the more I think about it, the better it sounds. Of course it would not be easy. There are many logistical problems, not to mention the cost involved.
At the very least, these NASA dreams can provide another cool setting for sci-fi.