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article imageNASA working to make Venus atmosphere humanity's next home

By Sravanth Verma     Dec 21, 2014 in Technology
It isn't the rocky cold surface of Mars that could be humanity's next home. A NASA project wants to make Venus's atmosphere humanity's next home.
The High Altitude Venus Operational Concept or HAVOC project plans to create a city of multiple zeppelins, floating 31 miles up in the Venetian atmosphere at a temperature of 167 degrees Fahrenheit. That is only 17 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than Earth's highest recorded temperature, and probably easier to deal with for current technology than Mars' chilly -81 degrees.
The NASA project will first send a robotic scout to test the environment before sending a 30-day manned mission in a helium airship.
Venus is the solar system's hottest planet due to an extreme greenhouse gas effect, with surface temperatures of 863°F. Dale Arney and Chris Jones, who came up with the idea at NASA's Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate at Langley Research Center in Virginia, told IEEE, "The vast majority of people, when they hear the idea of going to Venus and exploring, think of the surface, where it's hot enough to melt lead and the pressure is the same as if you were almost a mile underneath the ocean. I think that not many people have gone and looked at the relatively much more hospitable atmosphere and how you might tackle operating there for a while."
The manned vehicle will be 130 meters long, with a 21-cubic-meter crew habitat, and a top covered in 1000 square meters of solar panels. The two-member crew will first have to undertake a 110-day trip to Venus, and will be back on Earth after a total roundtrip of 440 days. brave souls on a 110-day trip to Venus. By comparison, a mission to Mars would take a minimum of 500 days.
Once the two-member crew is back, the team plans a year-long mission to Venus's atmosphere, followed a floating city in the far future, with permanent human settlement.
"Venus has value as a destination in and of itself for exploration and colonization. There are things that you would need to do for a Mars mission, but we see a little easier path through Venus," says Jones.
More about Venus, NASA, Space exploration
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