NASA Langley Research Centre

Should we be trying to colonise Venus instead of Mars?

#teamvenus

BEC CREW
16 SEP 2016
 

Despite the fact that there's mounting evidence that Venus was once habitable, and was so similar to our own planet that it's been nicknamed 'Earth's twin next door', it doesn't really get talked about all that much. Certainly not as much as Mars.

But Venus is millions of kilometres closer, so why aren't we interested in colonising it instead?

 

As this episode of Space Time explains, there's a huge disparity between the kind of attention that Mars and Venus get, both from space agencies around the world, and in popular culture. And that can have a big impact on policy surrounding space exploration.

Right now, we've got the US and Chinese governments interested in sending manned missions to Mars. Billionaires want to pay good money to get their own spacecraft there, and NASA's even started searching for potential colonists. 

But there are currently no manned missions to Venus in discussion at all. Which is kind of odd, when you consider that Venus is more than 14 million km (8.7 million miles) closer to Earth than Mars is.

In fact, as the video above explains, Venus is actually an easier and less costly colonisation proposition than Mars is.

For one, the round trip from Earth to Venus would be 30 to 50 percent shorter than it would be to Mars. Just think about how much food, fuel, and time this would save - particularly when we're considering carrying enough supplies over there to set up a habitable environment.

 

Venus is also closer to the Sun, which gives it four times more solar energy potential than Mars, and its thick atmosphere offers far better defence from solar radiation and meteorites than Mars' wispy protective layer.

Its gravity is also much more similar to Earth's than the gravity of Mars, which means colonists would likely experience less negative effects on their bones.

So what gives? Watch the episode of Space Time above to find out why everyone with a say in how we conduct space exploration is biassed towards Mars. Let's just say we humans like our surfaces.

And while you're at it, here's how a team of dreamers from NASA envisioned Venus colonisation a couple of years ago. Basically, forget surfaces, let's all just live in huge, blimp-like airships high up in the clouds:

 

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