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NASA wants to built a floating city in atmosphere of Venus | Sci-Tech Universe

January 3, 2016

However Mars may be all the fury right now, a team of NASA researchers has fantasized up an ground-breaking idea that could ultimately see humans permanently inhabiting Venus’ atmosphere, in a floating cloud city.

Everyone is keen to get humans to Mars; it’s been realized as the next logical step for some time now, generally for the reason of its Earth-like abilities. Our atmospheric chemistry is closest to Mars, and its normal temperature isn’t excessively cold (-63oC) either. Furthermore, both Earth and Mars have huge polar caps that are supposed to be mainly composed of water ice.

But what about Venus, our nearest neighbour? Venus is truly akin to Earth. So much so that it’s often defined as Earth’s twin, although an evil or burning one. The two planets are alike in size, mass, density, gravity and structure. So why aren’t we trying to get humans there in its place? Well, it’s perhaps to do with the detail that it’s hellish.

It’s the fieriest planet in the solar system, with surface temperatures touching 465oC (870oF)—sufficiently hot enough to melt lead. It’s also masked in a very dense atmosphere with clouds of toxic sulphuric acid, and its devastating surface pressure is about 90 times that of ours.

So, Venus’ surface is pretty much a no-go zone. But what about taking up habitation in its atmosphere? That’s NASA’s thinking anyway, and its Langley Research Center has at present started to put forward some stimulating ideas for a possible future mission, or five.

Called the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC), the extraordinary program consists of a series of projects that would start by sending a robot into the atmosphere to examine the waters, preceded by a 30 day Human, orbital mission. If fruitful, the next mission would be a Human, 30-day venture in Venus’ atmosphere, eventually leading up to humans living a year in the atmosphere, or maybe even the formation of a stable presence in a floating “city.”

What sets this away from other space missions is the spacecraft that NASA has imagined up; helium-filled, solar-powered airships. As defined by IEEE, the robotic form would be 31 meters long, while the Human vehicle would be nearly 130 meters in length. The top would be ornamented with solar panels, a gondola would be constructed beneath for instruments and, in the manned vehicle, there would be a habitation for humans and an ascent robot that cosmonauts would use to both enter Venus’ orbit and return to Earth.

The spaceships would hover 50 kilometers (31 miles) above the planet’s surface. Here, there would be only one atmosphere of pressure, and the temperature would be a practical 75oC. There would also be sufficient solar energy to power the crafts, much more than on Mars and radiation exposure would be about the same as if you were in Canada.

This all sounds practicle on paper, but there are some serious difficulties that need to be solved. They need to find out how to launch the ships, which would have to unknot and fill themselves with gas. They also need to find out a practicable way to securely get humans to the crafts, and home again. Much more thinking needs to be done, but it’s a thrilling concept on the other hand.

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It might be difficult to "live off the land" in the atmosphere of Venus, when you can never come within 50 miles of the planetary surface. How are these astronauts going to plant their potatoes? It’s quite a long drive to the nearest supermarket.

See on Scoop.itNew Space

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