Saturday, March 10, 2018

"Colonizing Venus": it may be easier than Mars

“Colonizing Venus”, apparently the second film in the Outward Bound series with Isaac Arthur, starts out by proposing floating cities high in the atmosphere of Venus.

The film starts out by reminding us that we didn't know how hot the surface of Venus is until the 1960s. 

But eventually true terraforming of Venus might be possible, and easier than Mars.  The trick is to build shades and place them at Lagrange points for the orbit of Venus. Gradually, with less sun, the atmosphere of Venus cools and the carbon dioxide liquifies into an ocean under pressure. As the atmosphere cools further it might freeze. 

Venus is almost tidally locked.  But mirrors could reflect the sunlight around the atmosphere to simulate earthlike days.

I had a harder time following how you get a livable surface.  The carbon dioxide has to go somewhere. Respected science points out that Venus is so volcanic that the surface is replaced every few hundred million years.  And it’s possible that Venus had a runaway greenhouse effect about a billion years ago, and might have had life before that.  Perhaps a real tragic apocalypse. A warning about our own climate change.

Picture: Model of Venus from Meteor Crater museum near Odessa, TX, my visit, Nov. 2011. 

No comments: