The planet of Venus, which is the second closest planet to our sun, is actually a very scary place for humans. Its atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, and there are clouds that actually rain sulfuric acid. The surface there is just a yellow desert which has a few volcanoes that are countless times bigger than any that are found on our planet. The surface temperature there can reach levels of 860 degrees Fahrenheit. But in spite of these harsh conditions, Venus could be one of the preferable places in our solar system for people to live.
Living on a Hellish Planet
While it may not seem apparent at first, Venus is very similar to Earth as compared to the other planets within our solar system. This is why it is often called Earth’s “sister planet”. The gravity level there is about 90% of Earth’s, whereas the gravity on Mars is more like 38% of Earth’s level. This means that human muscles won’t atrophy, and human bones will not decalcify like they do in environments with low gravity. And physically, Venus is about same size as Earth, and it is the closest planet to Earth as well.
All of these facts is what makes Venus a juicy target for a potential colonization in the future. Of course, there are still all of those characteristics which are deadly to us humans. It is very hard to live in an atmosphere with all that carbon dioxide, without water, and that searing heat. And there’s the fact that if you stood on the surface of Venus, it would be like diving 3,000 feet underwater under the weight of its atmosphere. No doubt that the surface of Venus is very brutal. This is why we do not plan on living on the surface of Venus.
Instead, the vision is to have a hypothetical Venusian colony suspended by blimps that will float some 31 miles above the planet’s surface. Yes, this is very a farfetched scenario, but it is not completely science fiction. While there would be lots of obstacles associated with life over the surface of the planet Venus, it would actually be easier than starting a colony on Mars in several ways.
Life in the Clouds
In the upper atmosphere of Venus, the pressure there would be very close to that on Earth at sea level. Not only would people tolerate this environment very easily, a blimp there would be very easy to repair and not a catastrophic explosion as one might imagine.
This means that humans could work happily outside the habitat, as long as there is sufficient air to breathe and also protection from the sulfuric acid clouds. Acid rain may look like a huge problem, but there are plenty of materials available today that are resistant to such an acid—such as Teflon.
Now what about the lack of water? As it turns out, all those evil clouds made of acid actually provide an opportunity. Sulfuric acid is comprised of sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules. Using electrolysis, all these molecules could be separated and then recombined to create water, leaving behind only the sulfur to be discarded as a waste product. And since humans need lots of oxygen, Venus provides a huge abundance of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which is then used to grow plants that will produce breathable air.
And finally, the atmosphere of Venus provides a shield against cosmic radiation. Mars actually has am extremely thin atmosphere and would be incapable of providing this benefit.