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Subject VENUS! Not MARS!
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Original Message I have no idea why we are playing around on Mars, it's a near absolute-zero frozen wasteland. Yeah, some spots on the equator get up to 20C/68F at high noon on a summer day, but it's the rare occassion, not a common occurance. Mars is VERY far away, and 100% of building/life-support supplies, including air and water, would have to come from earth - expensive as hell. Human waste would just freeze and hang around for millions of years, the gravity would destroy your muscles and bones, there's nowhere to go, and nothing to do. You would need a heavily insulated pressurized suit to walk around, and if it ripped, you better do something about it quickly, or you're dead. It is so far from the Sun that solar energy would be very impractical - and drilling for oil is out of the question. The only choice left would be nuclear power. Living on Mars would be nothing less than an ultra-expensive nightmare.

BUT ...

The atmosphere of Venus 96.5% CO2 by volume, 3.5% N2. Early evidence pointed to sulfuric acid content in the atmosphere, but we now know that that is a rather minor constituent of the atmosphere. It has PLENTY of Oxygen (MUCH more than Earth), from all the Carbon Dioxide, which can be transformed by plants. It has the same gravity as Earth! It has plenty of sunlight from all directions due to the way the clouds disperse light, and lots of thermal energy, all free. It has Nitrogen, for fertilizer/nitrogen-fixation, and for breathable air. The only thing that may be in short supply is Hydrogen, for water (I am not sure! Maybe some water is in the clouds!), but Venus is only 35 million miles away from Earth, and sending H2 now and then would be a heck of a lot cheaper than sending tanks of water to Mars! Waste disposal is no problem on Venus! The whole surface is a crematorium! We know hardly nothing about the planet, but it may have valuable minerals for mining. I have NO IDEA why anyone is interested in Mars! Read on!

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Despite the harsh conditions on the surface, the atmospheric pressure and temperature at about 50 km to 65 km above the surface of the planet is nearly the same as that of the Earth, making its upper atmosphere the most Earth-like area in the Solar System, even more so than the surface of Mars. Due to the similarity in pressure and temperature and the fact that breathable air (21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen) is a lifting gas on Venus in the same way that helium is a lifting gas on Earth, the upper atmosphere has been proposed as a location for both exploration and colonization.

Venus has a high albedo, and reflects most of the sunlight that shines on it making the surface quite dark, the upper atmosphere at 60 km has an upward solar intensity of 90%, meaning that solar panels on both the top and the bottom of a craft could be used with nearly equal efficiency. In addition to this, the slightly lower gravity, high air pressure and slow rotation allowing for perpetual solar power make this part of the planet ideal for exploration.

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

Geoffrey Landis is a scientist at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. Landis knows Venus’ surface itself is pretty much out of the question for human habitation. But up about 50 kilometers above the surface, Landis says the atmosphere of Venus is the most Earth-like environment, other than Earth itself, in the solar system. Landis proposes floating cities on Venus where people could live and work, as well as study the planet below.

50 km above the surface, Venus has air pressure of approximately 1 bar and temperatures in the 0C-50C range, a quite comfortable environment for humans. Humans wouldn’t require pressurized suits when outside, but would need air to breathe and protection from the sulfuric acid in the atmosphere.

In looking at Venus, the fact that struck Landis the most is that Earth’s atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen would actually float in Venus’ atmosphere of carbon dioxide. “Because the atmosphere of Venus is CO2, the gases that we live in all the time, nitrogen and oxygen, would be a lifting gas,” he said.

“If you could just take the room you’re sitting in and replace the walls with something thinner, the room would float on Venus,” said Landis.

[link to www.universetoday.com]

Landis has proposed aerostat habitats followed by floating cities, based on the concept that breathable air (21:79 Oxygen-Nitrogen mixture) is a lifting gas in the dense carbon dioxide atmosphere, with over 60% of the lifting power that helium has on Earth. In effect, a balloon full of human-breathable air would sustain itself and extra weight (such as a colony) in midair. At an altitude of 50 km above Venusian surface, the environment is the most Earth-like in the solar system – a pressure of approximately 1 bar and temperatures in the 0°C–50°C range.

Because there is not a significant pressure difference between the inside and the outside of the breathable-air balloon, any rips or tears would cause gases to diffuse at normal atmospheric mixing rates, giving time to repair any such damages. In addition, humans would not require pressurized suits when outside, merely air to breathe, a protection from the acidic rain; and on some occasions low level protection against heat. Alternatively, two-part domes could contain a lifting gas like hydrogen or helium (extractable from the atmosphere) to allow a higher mass density.

At the top of the clouds the wind speed on Venus reaches up to 95 m/s (approximately 212 mph), circling the planet approximately every four Earth days in a phenomenon known as "super-rotation". Colonies floating in this region could therefore have a much shorter day length by remaining untethered to the ground and moving with the atmosphere. Allowing a colony to move freely would also reduce structural stress from the wind.

[link to www.startramfans.com]

Read more here! Mars sucks!

[link to www.google.com]
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